When new alcoholic products are developed, a tariff classification has to be obtained from Excise in order to clear up uncertainties.
The Liquor Products Act (Act 60 of 1989) regulates various aspects of liquor products but excludes however, any beer and sorghum beer. It defines “beer” to include ales, stout and any other fermented liquor sold under the name of beer, ale and stout.
It is precisely this category of sugar-fermented “ale” products that causes endless problems as it is not controlled by the Liquor Products Act and therefore can mislead the consumer, is not subject to packaging standards and pose a food safety risk due to the fact that it is not controlled.
Consultations to amend the Act already began in 2009 and organisations in the wine industry like VinPro and Salba provided inputs to improve the legislation. The amendments to the Act is currently at the National Assembly of Parliament for consideration and will make provision for all liquor products, including beer and ales, to be controlled by the Liquor Products Act with proper definitions for the problematic sugar-fermented products. -Sawis