Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 07 April 2021

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 07 April 2021


We would like to share the following items which describe the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the industry. Please contact the FIVS Secretariat with items that may be of interest.


Belgium: Hospitality sector urges confirmation of reopening date – The Belgian alcohol beverage, food service, and hotel industries are reportedly demanding clarification regarding whether cafes and restaurants will be allowed to reopen on 01 May 2021. A government consultation committee has only suggested that possibility, but the industries note that they will require sufficient lead time to brew beer and supply restaurants.

France: Regional lockdown extended to entire country – France’s President announced that national restrictive measures currently in force in 19 regions of France would be extended to all regions of France for four weeks, beginning on 03 April 2021. He added during a televised address to the nation that controls and sanctions would be strengthened to limit illegal collection and consumption of alcohol.

South Africa: Industry urges government to share data behind Easter weekend ban – The South African alcohol beverage industry has reportedly asked government officials to share the data used surrounding the government’s decision to restrict off-site consumption trade over the four-day Easter weekend. Restrictions also impacted over 533 wineries, because tourists were not permitted to purchase wine for home consumption.

  • South Africa: Minister backtracks after claiming that people carrying alcohol over Easter would be arrested – South Africa’s Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs reportedly retracted her earlier statement, incorrectly warning South Africans that police would set up roadblocks to check whether they were illegally transporting alcohol beverages over the Easter weekend. The wine and spirits sectors reportedly reached out to the Western Cape premier to correct her message.

United Kingdom: Outdoor pub areas reopening – Although indoor hospitality and entertainment venues may not reopen until at least 17 May 2021, outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen on 12 April 2021. Pubs without beer gardens will be allowed to serve in outdoor areas such as car parks, and venues without outdoor areas will be allowed to serve takeaway pints until they fully reopen in May.

Changing Legislation

United States: Permanent takeaway & delivery sales in Kentucky & AlabamaNew legislation approved by Kentucky’s 2021 General Assembly will allow certain restaurants to sell alcohol beverages, including cocktails, with to-go and delivery orders when purchased with a meal, and allow microbreweries to deliver up to 2,500 barrels to any retailer under certain restrictions. Though not yet finalised, legislation passed by the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives would allow businesses to purchase licenses to deliver beer, wine, and spirits to residents. Deliveries could not be made in dry counties, would be limited to no more than 75 miles from the business, could not cross state lines, and would be limited to up to five cases of beer and up to 12 bottles of wine. A separate bill passed by the Alabama House would allow wine to be shipped across state lines, from wineries in Alabama, and even to residents in dry counties.


Will alcohol e-commerce continue to grow? – The share of online alcohol beverage sales was only 1% in 2019, compared with groceries at 3.4% and apparel at 38%. But International Wine & Spirit Research predicts that the value of alcohol beverage e-commerce across ten global markets (including the United States) will rise from $3 billion in 2019 to $5.6 billion in 2020 and to $40 billion by 2024. Investors may also turn their attention to the delivery of alcohol beverages, including cocktails, which has continued to grow during the pandemic. Ready-to-drink cocktails may represent 20% of the market by 2024.

Illicit Alcohol

OECD: Webinar on illicit alcohol and lockdowns – This document offers a summary of “Crisis Policy, Illicit Alcohol and Lessons Learned from Lockdown,” a recent webinar organised by the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade. Attended by 200 participants, the virtual meeting focused on the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of government-imposed supply restrictions, and the effects on illicit trade in alcohol. While the overall goal of those countries that enacted various bans on the production or consumption of alcohol was to protect the health of their citizens, the restriction in the supply of alcohol products also stimulated illicit markets to meet unsatisfied demand, with negative knock-on effects, including fiscal consequences and health and safety risks.

NOTE: We make no warranty of any kind regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information in these FIVS Alerts; nor do we necessarily support or agree with views expressed or contained therein.