In Fiji, beer is running out of stock because the country’s biggest alcoholic beverage manufacturer Paradise Beverages (Fiji) Ltd has been closed since 19th April. After the second wave of COVID-19 severely hit the country in the South Pacific, Paradise reported that the measures to contain the virus significantly impacted the company that was forced to shut down production and distribution of alcoholic beverages. As a consequence beer has been running out of stock in many shops and even in large supermarket chains on the archipelago with more than 300 islands.
Alcohol was supposed to be one of the problems of the sharp rise in COVID-19 infections in the last months. To contain the pandemic, the government imposed a ban on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages.
However, this measure seems to have a rather counterproductive effect like already experienced in other countries like South Africa (inside.beer, 28.12.2020) and Mexico (inside.beer, 19.5.2020). The number of infections in Fiji has in recent weeks further increased instead of decreased.
Many observers believe that a higher consumption of Kava has led to a renewed flare-up of the disease. Kava is a mildly narcotic drink made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant with water and results in a numb feeling around the mouth, lips and tongue and a sense of relaxation. It is the nation's traditional drink which is consumed in a ceremony where families and friends gather together and often share a common bowl of the intoxicating drink. This ceremony which is also offered to tourists as the highlight of a visit to Fiji, is believed to be one of the main sources of the virus spreading.
It is not clear, when Paradise is allowed to resume production and sale of alcoholic beverages. The brewery confirmed that applications to resume operations had been unsuccessful.