No fake beer being sold in SA, says Heineken after social media outrage

Business Insider SA
(Facebook, Heineken)
  • A video supposedly showing fake Heineken beer being sold in South Africa is false, says Heineken South Africa.
  • The video surfaced on social media on Thursday, bizarrely claiming South Africans can get malaria and ebola from the fake beer.
  • Heineken says the video first surfaced in June 2016, and there have been no reports of fake Heineken in South Africa. 

A video supposedly showing fake Heineken beer being prepared for distribution in South Africa is false, Heineken South Africa said on Friday afternoon.

This after parody Twitter account @AdvBarryRoux tweeted the video on Friday morning, claiming that South Africans have been drinking “fake Heineken” and will get malaria and ebola from it. 

The video shows factory workers packaging Heineken-branded bottles in a warehouse. 

A separate tweet showed the apparent branding differences between the “fake beer” and real Heineken, with the “fake beer” using a larger font.

The tweets were retweeted over 3,000 times by Friday afternoon. 

Heineken South Africa spokesperson Sbu Mpungose said the video tweeted by the South African account first surfaced on social media in June 2016. 

“We were notified of the video [at the time] and were immediately in contact with our colleagues in China to investigate the issue,” Mpungose told Business Insider South Africa. 

"Heineken South Africa has not received any information with regards to counterfeit products being sold at any of our official retailers here in South Africa."

Mpungose said the video shows individuals removing Heineken’s global track-and-trace code, which tracks the entire journey of the bottles from production to consumers across the globe.

READ: Heineken under fire for 'racist' ad that declares 'lighter is better'

On social media, users voiced their concern about apparently drinking tampered Heineken.

“We really need to stop buying from Chinese and this local Pakistan/Indians shops selling us fake and expired food and alcohol,” @master_zee tweeted. “We are being poisoned here.”

@real_elevator said: “The solution to these fake beverages, food and other products is to report them to the real companies and they can perhaps sue these people for counterfeit and shut them down.”

Heineken’s Mpungose said the company is constantly working with authorities to address the issue of contraband and counterfeit beers.

“Product quality is a top priority at Heineken South Africa and we would like to reassure our consumers that our products are manufactured to the highest safety standards, in compliance with global best practices,” Mpungose said. 

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