11 Apr 2020


→On Friday, 10 April, police in KwaZulu-Natal have made a breakthrough, busting a ring of illicit alcohol producers and confiscating counterfeit alcohol estimated at more than R500,000 in Mandawe area in the south coast of the province.

Police discovered 280 bottles (750ml) of spirits that had been bottled in a house in the area. A further 1,500 litres of pure alcohol, which could have potentially produced a further 3,400 bottles (750ml). if sold at normal retail price, the total finished products would have a retail value of R500,000.

Hundreds of bottles with labels of different commercial alcoholic spirits brands (whisky, brandy, vodka and gin) were discovered together with a stack of unused caps and glue for sealing.

One suspect was arrested at the scene and taken to Scotburgh Police Station.

Spokesperson for the South African Liquor Brandowners Association, Sibani Mngadi said the industry was concerned about the risk to public health posed by mass scale production and sale of counterfeit liquor during this period of national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"Our view is that criminal syndicates have found a gap in the market with prohibition of formal sale of alcoholic beverages. The value of R500,000 is actually a conservative estimate had those counterfeit brands been sold at their normal retail prices. But we know that with current high consumer demand, prices in the illicit market have skyrocketed," said Mngadi.

He said the industry is committed to work with law enforcement agencies to stop the illicit trade in alcohol. “The refilling of branded bottles with counterfeit liquid is having major negative impact on consumer perception of our brands. It is therefore in both our commercial and public health interest to assist the police curbing this criminal activity,” said Mngadi.

Issued by SALBA
South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA) is a trade association representing alcohol manufacturers and distributors in SA. Its membership includes major beverage alcohol companies such as Distell, Diageo, Heineken, Pernod Ricard, DGB, KWV and RGBC.

About Diageo

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding portfolio of brands consisting of Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness and many more. Diageo's alcohol beverages are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO).

For more information about Diageo, visit www.diageo.com and Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.