Heineken South Africa not closing, but has scrapped plans for new brewery

Beer producer Heineken is ending production in South Africa and has halted plans for a new R6 billion (US$47 million) brewery, according to a claim circulating on social media.

“Heineken South Africa is shutting down. Including plans for a new R6 billion brewery which would have employed hundreds of people,” says one Facebook post from 1 August 2020. 

Similar posts claim the brewery would have employed over 400 people, with one saying the shutdown would leave 300,000 people jobless. 

Heineken makes Windhoek, Miller and Soweto Gold beers, and Strongbow cider. 

South Africa’s alcohol industry has been hit by a second ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol. The government has explained the ban as an effort to prevent alcohol-related injuries that could take up hospital beds needed for Covid-19 patients. 

Is Heineken shutting down production in South Africa and shelving plans for a new brewery? We checked. 

Heineken ‘still in operation’

On 3 August, Heineken tweeted a press statement on the rumours.

“Heineken South Africa is still in operation and is not shutting down as has widely been shared,” it said.

“However, the Covid-19 lockdown with alcohol sales restrictions is placing immense pressure on our industry to retain jobs, create new ones and contribute to the local economy.”

Reuters reported that the ban had forced Heineken South Africa to halt plans for a R6 billion brewery in KwaZulu-Natal province. 

The company reportedly said production had been “hampered” by the ban, leading to salary cuts. But it still plans to invest in South Africa over the long term. 

Heineken has not shut down production in South Africa. But it has halted plans for a R6 billion brewery because of the ban on alcohol during the Covid-19 crisis. – Naledi Mashishi


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