UPDATE: Castle Lite cancels free beer promotion as Covid second wave sours festive season spirit

Business Insider SA
Free beer Castle Lite South Africa
(Image: Castle Lite)
  • Castle Lite’s #UnlockSummer campaign has been halted due to a sudden rise in Covid-19 infections and related restrictions announced by government.
  • Since October, entrants have been rewarded with free beer every time the small town of Hotazel recorded temperatures of 35° Celsius or higher.
  • In the early December, Castle Lite launched a Twitter AI project which looked to reward followers who lamented the tumultuous year.
  • For more articles, go to

South Africans hoping to be rewarded with free beer as part of Castle Lite’s popular #UnlockSummer campaign will need to look elsewhere for lucky liquor deals. Just two weeks after launching a social media strategy, using artificial intelligence to identify and reward Twitter posts bemoaning the state of 2020, Castle Lite has taken the decision to put the entire campaign on ice.

In late October, Castle Lite kicked off its #UnlockSummer campaign by offering free six packs to lucky entrants every time the small Northern Cape town of Hotazel recorded a daytime temperature of 35° Celsius or above. It’s estimated that almost 200,000 bottles of beer were given away during the promotion, which was expected to run until 31 December 2020.

Hotazel’s average summer temperature of 31° Celsius ranks it among some of the hottest places in the country. Shortly after the promotion was launched, daytime temperatures nudged 40° Celsius. According to AccuWeather, the 35° Celsius mark has been reached or exceeded a total of 17 times since the competition was first launched on 22 October.

After announcing the success of the #UnlockSummer promotion, which had already awarded approximately 30,000 six packs – roughly 20% of the 150,000 packs on offer – Castle Lite extended the campaign to Twitter users. Its system sought out people "speaking about not being able to live their best summer live", says brand director, Silke Bucker, with triggers including "words such as ‘beach, pool, sundowners, party, melting, boiling, hot, sweat’ among others.”

But, following a rapid rise in Covid-19 infections and a response from government to tighten restrictions during the busy festive period, Castle Lite decided to can its campaign as to not encourage irresponsible revelry.

“Taking into account the rise in cases and what is expected from all of us to act responsibly, we have decided to put our campaign on hold,” confirmed Bucker, on 17 December.

“This includes the Hot as Hell temperature mechanic as well as our Twitter activity aimed at rewarding consumers with six packs. Even though our terms and conditions were always set up to be responsible, with only two six packs per person given away over a three-month period, we still believe that we need to stand in solidarity and act responsibly together.”

Bucker added that the #UnlockSummer campaign could be reinstated in the early 2021, if South Africa manages to curb the spread of Covid-19 and restrictions are relaxed by government. Additionally, Castle Lite has released an essential guide to staying safe during the summer holidays, which includes an overview of restrictions on beaches, social gatherings, and alcohol sales.

“Castle Lite wishes to remind everyone to play it safe during this time. It is better for us to work together in our fight against Covid-19 so that we are all able to celebrate together in the near future,” added Bucker concluded.

Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.