On the 18th September  the South African Breweries (SAB), along with The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) Craft Brewers Association, celebrate and commemorate the 6th annual Global Beer Responsibility Day– a global initiative with local impact, set to champion the responsible consumption of beer. Heidi Bartis, Corporate Affairs Manager at SAB commented, “Beer is a drink of moderation and at SA Breweries (SAB), we believe that alcoholic beverages should be consumed responsibly.” Through this campaign, which is multi-pronged, we aim to encourage consumers to consider drinking beer with lower or no alcohol volume in our efforts to contribute to harm reduction.”

As SAB our commitments to help curb and reduce the harmful use of alcohol both in South Africa and around the world, is clearly articulated through our Smart Drinking Goals. This is a commitment, in support of the World Health Organization [WHO] target of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% in every country by 2025, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ambition to strengthen the prevention of harmful use of alcohol globally.

As a company, we share these goals—we believe that the harmful use of alcohol is not good for our consumers, colleagues, families and communities, but also for our business. We are building a company to last beyond our 125 years invested in South Africa. So we can continue to brew beers and build brands that bring people together for a better world. This relies on thriving communities, who fully participate in the economic recovery of our country.

While Global Beer Responsibility Day is a global initiative, as SAB, we recognise that that the alcohol industry can play a positive role in reducing harmful drinking – a goal we continue to actively work towards

However to truly make this work, we need a concerted and collaborative effort between us, our industry peers, civil society and government to eliminate drink driving, tackle underage drinking as well as to encourage a healthier drinking culture.

At SAB, we will continue to dedicate ourselves towards activities that make a tangible difference. As we do this, we will always be looking to forming more innovative and exciting initiatives that will better help us achieve these Smart Drinking goals. Here are some of the ways we’ve already committed to creating a more responsible beer-loving nation:

  • Eliminate Drinking and Driving:

SAB is determined to stop drinking and driving on South African roads and help further reduce the number of drink-driving related injuries and deaths in the country. We believe when you drive you should never drink and we fully support the implementation of 0% breath alcohol content limit, coupled with strong law enforcement, as already proposed by the Department of Transport.

We continue to invest and collaborate in our partnership with the Department of Transport and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to run the Alcohol Evidence Centres (AECs), which have proven to successfully assist in improving the number of drink driving convictions for, and reducing incidents of this nature.


  • Education is key:

Alcohol health literacy means our consumers are able to understand what they’re drinking and along with the complexities around ingredients and their respective quantities. This, in turn, empowers them to understand alcohol marketing and messages and how alcohol information is distributed. Our product labels have always aimed to be as straight forward and transparent as possible and provide realistic expectations and understandings of the alcohol being consumed.


  • 0% alcohol = 100% responsible:

Consumers have more choice and flexibility than ever before with an alcohol-free beer offering people the freedom of choice to still enjoy the taste and the sociability of a beer, and the sense of belonging of having a drink but without the alcohol. With advancements in technology we can now provide consumers with an array of high quality No- and Low-Alcohol beers. These beers play an important role in reducing the harmful use of alcohol. From an SAB perspective, Castle Free provides the perfect example of why beer is still beer – with or without the alcohol. Brewed with the same ingredients and the same processes, the only extra step involves removing the alcohol using a combination of natural processes. In the end you come out with the same taste, the same colour, and the same Castle.


  • Invest in social marketing programs and campaigns that influence social norms to reduce the harmful use of alcohol:

The #NOEXCUSE initiative was launched in 2017 by Carling Black Label, to address the critical national issue of Gender-Based Violence (GBV). We continue to raise awareness amongst the brand’s largely male consumer base, to ultimately change behaviours, and help make progress towards curbing GBV.

Covid-19 has highlighted the urgency of entrenching a culture of responsible drinking in SA, but change takes time, it will require collaboration and innovation across all sectors of our society. It is only through partnerships, rigorous independent evaluation of our efforts, and advancement of solutions that are proven effective, scalable, and sustainable that we can reach our goals and affect the change we want to see in the world.

Every experience with beer should be a positive one and as an organisation we strive to ensure that this underpinned by business practices that are driven by smart drinking practices and commitments.