With more and more people living on the edge, not sure about whether they will be able to have their next meal, people are not just changing their eating habits, but their drinking habits as well.
Gone are the days when friends could go to a hotel for one-for-lunch or, after work, one-for-the-road. Instead, it appears people are switching to bottle stores which can be cheaper by as much as $1.40 cents than three-star hotels.
The only problem is that these drinkers can never be comfortable because they either have to drink from their parked cars, in alley ways behind the bottle stores where there is usually filth stench since there are normally no sanitary facilities, or in the back yards of the bottle stores.
It is, however, not so much the discomfort that bothers the drinkers but the frequent raids carried out by police who fine them $20 per person. There is strong talk that because of increasing costs -even of chasing the patrons – the fine may be increased to $40.
The changing drinking habits are now a cause of great concern to National Breweries, the major manufacturer of clear beer in the country. There is only one other competitor but it is still to come on full swing and will only service the Chiredzi area.
National Breweries was expecting a drop in profits of 65 percent, a drop it said was mainly due to lower demand for beer, increased costs, rapid devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, high interests rates, increased custom duties, poor cost control and lower productivity among employees.
But while demand may have declined the price of beer was increased recently and this may make up for the revenue lost through lower sales.