A new draft national Liquor Bill due to be tabled in parliament next week could have major ramifications for the vertical integration of large drinks companies such as SABMiller and Distell.
There is deep concern that the minister of Trade and Industries, present and future, will have significant powers in determining which companies will have the right to retain interests in producing, distributing or retailing.
This could mean that any of the large producers which presently distribute their own product, may find their future determined by the efficiencies of an independent distributor.
It will be the minister’s prerogative in determining exceptions to the general rule that integration in the industry should be discouraged.
Liquor companies will be able to study the draft legislation and make representations during the public hearing phase to be held during the parliamentary committee stage later in the year.