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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

Beer, or toilet paper? A weekend of tough decisions ahead

South Africans are forced to choose between needs and wants amid high inflation.

“Sometimes the toilet paper does not win. Sometimes a broke woman (or man) needs wine more,” – Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes was clearly on the money when she uttered these words.

Many South Africans will be faced with some tough choices during their monthly grocery shopping this weekend, following pay day.

SA’s tough economy has made every trip to the grocery store a costly expedition, while dining out has somewhat become a luxury treat for the lucky few.

Meanwhile, steep prices, shallow pockets and a burning desire for a weekend’s unwinding have left alcohol drinkers with a tough choice between essentials and a bottle of good old liquor.

ALSO READ: WHO says time to hike alcohol, sugary drinks tax

Liquor’s consistency

Unsurprisingly, high inflation and shrinking pockets aren’t enough to deter South Africans from their liquor.

The country’s fifth place global ranking for alcohol consumption in 2023 bears testament to how much Mzansi love ‘bev‘ (liquor).

According to the World Health Organisation’s study, SA had a drinkers-only per capita consumption of 30 litres last year.

Seemingly, alcohol has proven to be consistent even during economic turbulence, and from how it looks, not even a tough month can keep South Africans from savouring the moment.

ALSO READ: Neat or on the rocks? ‘There’s no specific way to enjoy whisky,’ says connoisseur

Godongwana’s Gordon’s hike

Nonetheless, alcohol drinkers should brace themselves for price hikes around the corner.

If you thought alcohol was already expensive, wait till the effects of Enoch Godongwana’s 2024 Budget Speech kick in from 1 April.

As usual, the finance minister hiked excise duties ahead of the new financial year, announcing above-inflation increases of between 6.7 and 7.2%.

  • A can of beer increases by 14 cents;
  • A can of a cider and alcoholic fruit beverage goes up by 14 cents;
  • A bottle of wine will cost an extra 28 cents;
  • A bottle of fortified wine will cost an extra 47 cents;
  • A bottle of sparkling wine will cost an extra 89 cents; and
  • A bottle of spirits, including whisky, gin or vodka, increases by R5.53.

READ MORE: Budget 2024: a bottle of whiskey will cost you almost R6 more, vapes R3 more

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