Byo hit by beer shortages, imbibers forced to settle for less popular brands

Beer manufacturer Delta Corporation Limited is reportedly struggling to supply its popular beer brands in Bulawayo resulting in customers being forced to settle for the less popular brands.  

Some of the popular beer brands that are said to be in short supply include 750 Zambezi, 750 Castle, Black label and 750 ml Castle Lite lagers.  

A brief survey showed that most wholesalers and beer selling outlets in Bulawayo were selling less popular brands such as 375 ml Eagle, 750 ml Eagle and 375ml Lion beers. 

Reached for comment, Delta’s General Manager for Corporate Affairs, Patricia Murambinda told CITE that the beverages company was currently adjusting to the increased demand of customers caused by the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

“Delta has generally been able to meet demand. We are currently adjusting to the increased demand as the economy opens up in response to the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions,” she said.

Murambinda acknowledged there could, “however be a temporary brand or pack outages due to occasional disruptions in the supply chain.”

But the general manager noted, “Delta has been injecting additional glass bottles imported from Egypt, Tanzania and South Africa to improve production capacity.”

“We also note that we are maintaining fair pricing which creates demand. We sincerely hope to supply our customers with their full orders.”

The shortages have left imbibers and hoteliers frustrated as Delta was coercing them to buy unpopular beverages.

One manager of a local hotel, who declined to be named, said since last week, the outlet had failed to buy popular brands for their customers from Delta.

“We are now forced to order unpopular and unprofitable products because this is all that the supplier has. This has really affected our business because some of our loyal clients are very particular with their brands. Some are diabetic and they do not take lagers like Lion which have got too much sugar,” the manager said.

The manager also presented a message that came from Delta through one of their communication platforms.

“Good Morning. Every order to include Eagle quart or Lion quart or Bohlingers pint. Let’s send through our orders by 1430hrs,” reads one of the messages sent to customers by the company.

Due to the beer shortages, Delta requested its customers to pay for supplies a day or two before delivery.

“Delta is now demanding upfront payment before delivering the product. Apart from that, the company is no longer accepting RTGS payment except for Eagle and Lion pints. These brands are also compulsory when one is buying other popular brands like Zambezi and Pilsner,” said another Bottle Store operator.

A customer who spoke to CITE outside one hotel, Melissa Sibanda, said having a drink or two was necessary especially in these trying times.

“I’m distraught and cannot believe how Delta allowed itself to run out of stock or whatever their reason is for not supplying beers. I am worried,” she said.

Emmanuel Ndlovu, who loves his Zambezi quart, added “when consuming goods, it’s a matter of preference so when your preferred beverage is not available, you don’t enjoy the luxury of your favourite brand of alcohol.”

Moses Kumbweya, another customer, said there was a challenge when there was only one supplier of alcohol.

“How can Delta force people to drink brands which they do not like? Some of those beer cans that are released into the market now have expired because generally, people don’t like beer cans,” he said.

Another imbiber, Simon Murabwe also accused Delta of mistreating its clients.

“I used to drink Pilsner before but I changed to Zambezi because of the inconsistent supply of the brand. Now I am used to Zambezi but the company is forcing me to drink Eagle which is not good for both my health and taste. I think it is high time that the issue of monopoly in the beverage sector is addressed,” he said.

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