More than two months after being sent back for re-evaluation, South Africa's controversial new Liquor Bill has been pummelled into shape by the industry and government.

The latest version was presented to the trade and industry portfolio committee in parliament yesterday and the major players in the formal liquor industry are happy with the new interpretation of the aspects relating to a new three tier system which is to be introduced.

Previously the Bill gave the minister of trade and industry unfettered powers regarding the licensing of liquor companies - this has now been tempered and provisions made for appropriate checks and balances.

SABMiller estimated that a rigid three tier system could result in costs to consumers of between R250m and R550m, excluding infrastructure costs of around R600m.

The formal industry has agreed to help government regarding black empowerment development in the industry as well as alcohol abuse.

It, however, feels that alcohol abuse and empowerment can be dealt with if the more than 200 000 informal on and off trade retailers in mainly black areas, were forced to become licensed establishments.