Commonwealth Brewery Limited (CBL), while in complete agreement with government’s enactment of its emergency order designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), is concerned that the ongoing ban on alcohol sales will soon have a negative impact on its revenue, profitability and the businesses of its customers, CBL Managing Director Jürgen Mulder said in a statement sent to Guardian Business.
Liquor stores did not fall under the exempt businesses still allowed to operate until the order expires on March 31.
This paper understands that CBL, as of yesterday, continues with its full staff complement of 400, despite the cessation of most of its operations, as mandated by government.
It continues to produce and distribute its non-alcoholic portfolio, including Vita Malt, but the absence of sales from the high-yielding alcohol portfolio, if it continues beyond next Tuesday, will have huge downside consequences for the company and its employees.
“Admittedly, the ban on alcohol sales, nationwide, will have a significant impact on our revenue and our profitability,” Mulder said.
“More importantly, however, we fear for the sustainability of the business of our customers.
“The absence of tourists and the closure of hotels have a major impact on all of us, directly and indirectly.
“We can sustain this situation for the period of the existing Emergency Powers Order. Beyond this, it is critical to our operations that the alcohol sales ban be discontinued.”
Attorney General Carl Bethel told the media Tuesday that liquor stores will remain closed, saying: “How could we close churches and not liquor stores?”
Mulder said CBLs products, like beer, if the emergency orders are extended further, will expire and have to be discarded.
“Kalik beer is a natural product and it has expiration dates to guarantee its unique taste and quality,” he said.
“We need to resume the sale of these products to our consumers to avoid having to destroy them.”
Mulder said the company and its competitors can provide safe solutions for the distribution of products that adhere to the need for social distancing, and the reduction of the congregation of people.
“Our priorities are, and will always be, the safety of the community and our employees, while also ensuring the sustainability of our company,” he said.
“With regard to our employees, CBL has communicated to its more than 400 team members that we remain committed to doing our best to protect their health and their jobs at this time.”