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New regulations on the Liquor Products Act will affect the way traditional African beer (umqombothi) and other fermented beverages are produced. Scorpion Legal Protection takes a look at the newly-amended Liquor Products Act, who it affects, and what happens if you don’t comply.
A traditional African beer shall—
(a) (i) be produced by the alcoholic fermentation of malted grain of sorghum, maize, finger millet or pearl millet, or unmalted grain or meal of sorghum, maize, finger millet or pearl millet;
(ii) be in a state of alcoholic fermentation, or not have its alcoholic fermentation arrested;
(iii) contain at least four percent solids derived from the grain or meal referred to in subparagraph (i); and
(iv) not contain or be flavoured with hops or any product derived from hops;
(b) be a powder, which—
(i) comprises not more than three parts by mass of milled sorghum or maize malt;
(ii) comprises not less than seven parts by mass of milled, precooked maize or unmalted sorghum grain or meal; and
(iii) does not contain or is not flavoured with hops or any product derived from hops; and
(c) be produced in such a manner that it is of a prescribed class and complies with the prescribed requirements for the class concerned.
(2) Traditional African beer shall not contain a particular prescribed substance to a greater extent than that prescribed.
(3) No person shall, either before, during or after the production of a traditional African beer—
(a) add to or remove from the raw materials, in processed form or not, or the traditional African beer produced therefrom, any substance other than a substance prescribed for this purpose; and
(b) add or remove a substance prescribed under paragraph (a), otherwise than in accordance with the prescribed manner or conditions.
These regulations don’t only affect large commercial producers, they will affect anyone who produces traditional African beer – including friends and family who only take small orders for beer for small events or family get-togethers. Anyone producing beer or traditional beer for public consumption has to comply with the above-mentioned requirements.
Yes, any person trading in liquor needs a licence, no matter how little or how much they sell.
Any person who does not comply with the new amendments or Act 60 of 1989 will be guilty of an offence. If convicted, you can get a fine or imprisonment, or both. The court can also, if requested by the public prosecutor, order that the liquor that you’ve produced and been convicted on (or a relevant portion of it) be turned over to the State to be destroyed.
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* This is only basic paralegal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 25 October 2021
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