ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has banned alcohol in a Coronavirus lockdown, triggering a black market in booze while do-it-yourself hooch (kassippu) videos are going viral racking up hundreds of thousands of hits.
Police funded by tax payers are cracking down on a spike in illegal activity after the ban.
In the US, Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser, said it is giving free 5 dollar coupon to boost vaccinations, while breweries also sponsored vaccinations in New Jersey. The beer can be redeemed against the vaccination card.
“That’s right. Get a shot and have a beer,” US President Joe Biden said. “Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus.”
“It’s gonna be a huge effort,” Cesar Vargas, chief external affairs officer at Anheuser-Busch was quoted as saying in Fortune Magaine. “We’ve done beer giveaways before but never at this scale. It’s an investment. It’s an investment in our recovery. It’s an investment in our communities. And it’s an investment in our country.”
Meanwhile in youtube, a social media network, do-it-yourself hooch videos are going viral in Sri Lanka. Some, of which were made during a 2020 lockdown are renewed interest racking up hundreds of thousands of hits.
In the 2020 lockdown, when alcohol was also banned, supermarkets ran out yeast.
In the ‘black market’ alcohols prices have rocketed, those familiar with the market say. The usually cheap moonshine prices have also gone up, with delivery risks rising, a consumer said.
“Last time I got caught out,” a one tippler said. “But this time I knew the drill and stocked up. Most of my friends had done the same. It the poor kale guys (blue collar quarter bottle consumer) who are suffering.”
In Jaffna, police arrested a man who was transporting beer, which had suddenly become a ‘black market item, in a three wheeler.
Reports said a retail store of state-run retail chain Sathosa was burgled and the booze taken away.
In the Coronavirus crises Sri Lanka has banned the import of a series of items including turmeric and green gram triggering shortages and price spikes. Chemical fertilizer has also been banned. (Colombo/June09/2021)