South Africa

South Africa’s most popular alcohol brands – and who owns them

4th Street Wine is the most consumed alcohol brand in the country, followed by Savannah, Black Label, Brutal Fruit, and Gordon’s Gin. 

This was revealed by Eighty20, a Cape Town-based consultancy firm, which released a report detailing the alcohol consumption habits of South Africans. 

Eighty20 surveyed over 20,000 South Africans to analyse the number of people who drink alcohol and what brands they consume. 

South Africa ranks fifth globally in alcohol consumption, with the average South African alcohol consumer drinking 30 litres of alcohol in a year. 

This is below the country’s regional neighbours, such as Namibia and Eswatini, which consume 33 and 34 litres annually, respectively. 

Nearly half of South Africa’s adult population consumed alcohol in the past month, with beer being the preferred choice for 41%. 

Interestingly, half a million consumers choose to consume non-alcoholic beer. Eighty20’s analysis shows this is a health and taste choice as more than three-quarters of non-alcoholic beer consumers also drink regular beer. 

Consumption by category has changed significantly over the past ten years. Beer is still largely consumed by the masses, but other categories are growing strongly, particularly the ready-to-drink category, wine, and spirits.

The top five alcohol categories for men in 2023 are beer, gin, cider, liqueur and boxed wine. Ten years ago, it included whisky and brandy. 

For women in 2023, it is the same grouping as men, only replacing gin with flavoured alcoholic beverages.  

Perhaps also reflecting the current economic climate, ten years ago, women’s top five included champagne and wine in a bottle.  

The flavoured alcohol category has grown significantly, as shown by strong growth in brands like Flying Fish and Brutal Fruit, particularly among women.

The top 10 most popular alcohol brands are dominated by Remgro’s Distell brands and SAB’s Brutal Fruit and established beer brands.

4th Street Wine, owned by Distell, is the most consumed alcohol brand in the country, with over 2 million South Africans consuming it every week. 

Another Distell-owned brand, Savannah Dry, is a close second, followed by SAB-owned Black Label in third. SAB’s Brutal Fruit and Gordon’s Gin round out the top five. 

However, the data also shows that smaller brands are growing rapidly and are beginning to challenge more established, traditional brands.