The Liquor Products Amendment Bill has been widely welcomed by alcohol industry players who say it will go a long way to curbing illicit trade. The bill provides a framework for the introduction of beer and other fermented beverages into the Liquor Products Act and consequently bring these products under the control of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The government is seeking to put in place minimum regulations on the production, packaging and sale of beer. This includes traditional beer, commonly referred to as umqombothi, as well as other fermented beverages. The aim is to reduce the use of contaminants such as battery acid and methylated spirits in some home-brewed blends. According to the draft legislation, some brewers have been using a loophole in the Liquor Act that allows any product labelled as beer or ale to be manufactured and sold. The current law mainly focuses on liquor products produced from grapes, including wines and spirits, but by and large ...

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