A survey carried by New Zimbabwe.com this week revealed most wholesalers and beer-selling outlets in Bulawayo have run out of stock of popular lager brands such as 750 ml Zambezi, 750 Castle, Black Label, and 750 ml Castle Lite.
Beer outlets and wholesales were only selling unpopular brands such as 375 ml Eagle, 750 ml Eagle and 375ml Lion.
“Since last week, we have been failing to buy popular brands for our customers from Delta. We are now being forced to order unpopular and unprofitable products because this is all what the supplier has,” one hotel manager said.
“This has really affected our business because some of our loyal clients are very particular with their brands. Some are diabetic and they do not take lagers like Lion which has got too much sugar.”
Because of the beer shortages, Delta is also now demanding that customers should pay for suppliers a day or two before delivery.
“Delta is now demanding upfront payment before delivering the product. Apart from that, the company is no longer accepting real-time gross settlements systems (RTGS) except for Eagles and Lion pints.
These brands are also compulsory when one is buying other popular brands like Zambezi and Pilsner,” said another bottle store operator who also refused to be named.
In a WhatsApp group for its customers, the beverages company confirmed the shortages.
“Good Morning. Every order to include Eagle quart or Lion quart or Bohlinger’s pint. Let’s send through our orders by 1430hrs guys,” reads one of the messages send to customers by the company.
The brewery advised customers it was only left with Eagle and can beers.
Beer drinkers who spoke to this publication accused Delta of shortchanging them.
“Delta is just being arrogant because of its monopoly. How can they force people to drink brands which they do not like? Some of those can beer are expired because generally people don’t like beer cans,” said
Moses Kumbweya, an avid Zambezi drinker.
Another imbiber, Simon Murabwe also accused Delta of mistreating its clients.
“I used to drink Pilsner before but I changed to Zambezi because of the inconsistency in the supply of the brand. Now I was embedded in Zambezi but the company is forcing me to drink Eagle which is not good for both my health and taste,” he said.
“I think it is high time that the issue of monopoly in the alcoholic sector is addressed.”
Delta’s corporate affairs executive, Patricia Murambinda could not be reached for comment.