Tonderai Zvimba, Showbiz Reporter
In the past few months imbibers have been hit hard by liquor price increases which have forced many to change their drinking routines.
Liquor has always been a source of happiness for drinkers. Even in the Bible, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding at Cana to bring cheer to those that had gathered on that day.
The exorbitant beer prices have now made the “wise waters” a preserve for the rich.
The few who can still afford to drink have, however, been forced to reduce the quantities while others only drink during weekends.
Most people who used to drink premium whiskeys like Johnnie Walker and Jameson have turned to cheaper drinks like Viceroy, Russian Bear and Gin. Those who used to drink imported beers like Castle Lite now drink local beers such as Golden Pilsener.
Instead of going to the bar to have a few drinks with friends, some now prefer to buy the most affordable drinks and have them from the comfort of their cars. In the event they decide to go to the bar, they go when they are almost drunk so they just buy a few drinks before calling it a night.
Saturday Leisure spoke to a regular alcohol drinker, one Nkanyiso Gumede who said he can no longer afford to drink like he used to do.
“I can no longer afford to buy alcohol because it’s now very expensive. Before these price hikes, we would hang out with my friends and drink as much because we could afford but now, it’s no longer the case.”
Some beer drinkers said because of the high prices of beer, they are now being forced to turn to cheaper and dangerous beer alternatives sold on the black market.
“I’ve no choice but to buy this cheap alcohol from the black market and I only need $3 to get drunk. My preferred drink is Castle Lager and for me to get drunk nowadays, I’d need more than $30 which I definitely can’t afford on a regular basis,” said a drinker who preferred anonymity.
The illegal alcohol beverages which are being sold by some vendors are hazardous and may pose a serious threat to health.
To try and keep themselves entertained, some are resorting to smoking Shisha.
“My friends and I now prefer to smoke Shisha as it gets us a bit tipsy. All we do is to get an affordable bottle of wine and Shisha will do the rest,” a female patron who preferred anonymity said.
However, not everyone views these price hikes as a curse as some, especially women, see it as a blessing in disguise as they are getting to spend more time with their husbands.
“Ever since these beer and fuel prices went up, my husband has been coming home earlier than usual. He also spends most of his weekends at home now which is a good thing for me and the kids as we get to bond with him,” a mother who requested anonymity said.
She said while it breaks her heart to see her husband seemingly low as he cannot afford his favourite beer it was, however, good for him and the family. Some also expressed optimism that there might be positive changes in the society because of the liquor price hikes.
Beauty Muleya from Mpopoma said she is happy that liquor is now expensive as it was destroying the youth who were abusing it.
“I’m glad that alcohol prices have been increased because it has been destroying the younger generation as you could find a child as young as 13 years taking liquor.
“I think with these price hikes, the excessive liquor consumption by the youth might be reduced,” she said.
Some people are also hoping that road traffic accidents caused by drunken driving will also be reduced as well.