pinapple south africa alcohol
South Africans are brewing their own pineapple beer. Photo: Jamie Pyatt News Ltd

Alcohol consumers in South Africa are getting plastered on pineapples after the nationwide alcohol ban in lockdown sparked a craze of turning the tropical fruit into powerful home-brew.

pineapple south africa alcohol brew
PINA-COLLAPSO! Supermarkets cash in on the Pineapple Beer home brew craze by selling everything you need to get started on one counter – the tropical fruit, yeast and sugar – to make your own booze during the alcohol lock down in South Africa. Photo: social media

Supermarket bosses have revealed that TEN times as many pineapples are being sold at TWICE the price since off-licences and bars were closed down 5 weeks ago due to coronavirus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa banned the sale and purchase of all alcohol and cigarettes throughout the whole country in the last week of March as part of his super-strict COVID-19 measures. And it was announced this week that the alcohol ban will continue as South Africa transitions from Level 5 to Level 4 restrictions.

But with many in the 58 million strong population desperate to get their hands on booze the posting of a traditional recipe for pineapple beer has set the internet in South Africa alight.

In Johannesburg alone the sale of the tropical fruit from which the homemade hooch is made has soared from 10,000 a day to 100,000 and the price to buy them has doubled per kilo.

Samantha Nolan, 50, who is the President of the Cape Town home brew club South Yeasters said: “People clearly in these tough lockdown times want to end the day with a strong drink.

south africans make own alcohol pinapple
President of Cape Town home brew group South Yeasters Samantha Nolan, 50, shows off her Pineapple Beer brew as she gives away the traditional recipe to those who want to make booze during lockdown in South Africa

“It is five weeks now that alcohol has been banned and the bars have been closed but in recent weeks an old traditional recipe of making beer from pineapples has just taken off.

“Ever since it hit social media the pineapples have been flying off the shelves and all you need is a sterile container and plenty of sugar and water and then you can make your own beer.

“Once you have mixed the three ingredients together you just leave it alone and the yeast that is present in the pineapple skin begins to ferment and all the sugars in your brew turn into alcohol.

“The longer you leave your brew the stronger it gets but a week is long enough to give you a tropical drink with a kick like a mule and then you put it in plastic bottles and chill it in the fridge.

“Glass bottles explode so you must put the beer in plastic bottles and open the top regularly to let the gas out until you are ready to drink then enjoy getting happily pickled on pineapples!” she said.

Locals refer to getting hammered on the brew on social media as getting “pineapplized” and supermarkets as seen in the above photo are now selling the fruit as a package together with sugar and yeast!

pinapple south africa alcohol
South Africans are brewing their own pineapple beer. Photo: Jamie Pyatt News Ltd

Social drinker Tony Parkins, 49, of Hout Bay said: “You can now walk into stores and find pineapples, yeast and sugar all in one place and pop them in your basket and head to the tills.

“Half an hour later your brew is bubbling away and after a week you are supping it! It is pretty sweet but served with ice it goes down a treat and it really does the job!” he said.

BusinessLIVE reports that on the 1st day of the COVID-19 lockdown 10,000 pineapples were sold a day in stores in Johannesburg.

By last Monday it said the figure was 90,000 and industry insiders say that that figure is now over 100,000 pineapples a day and claim the nationwide total could be over THREE times that.

Prices have responded with pineapples selling for double the price they were at in late March, and supermarkets even considering rationing their sales.

Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO of RSA Group which is a fresh produce sales organisation, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown has had effects on the fresh produce markets.

“This can be observed in the pineapple price but this is simply the free market at work and as this shows there is always a market or a buyer for a product at the right price”

Statistics from Google SA also show that searches by thirsty locals on how to make your own pineapple beer has surged in recent weeks soaring by over 500% to get the recipe.

BusinessLIVE also reported that Anchor Yeast’s brewing yeast used to make home brew indoors will no longer be sold in stores to prevent “non-essential” items like home brew being produced.

However South Yeasters President Samantha added: “The beauty of making pineapple beer is that the yeast is already naturally in the skin so make sure all the skin is cut up and goes in the mix.

“If you add extra yeast it quickens the process and strengthens the beer if needed but all you basically need is the pineapple, sugar and water and a clean container to brew it in,” she said.

Brewer Samantha’s tried and tested Pineapple Beer recipe is as below;

Mix the following in a sterilised container:

  • 1 cayenne pineapple grated roughly including the skin.
  • 4 cups sugar.
  • 2L water.

Cover and leave it to ferment for 4 days at room temperature
After 4 days sieve it into into plastic bottles and watch for fizziness.
When it starts to fizz, refrigerate, but regularly release the top to let out the gas.
Drink your tropical beer before it gets too carbonated.
The longer you leave it the stronger it gets but no longer than 7 days or it will go off.