Couple die in agony after home brewing their own lockdown beer

Couple are killed by their home-brew beer that they made to get around South Africa’s ban on alchol sales during lockdown

  • Tony Hilliar, 54, and Alida Fouche, 42, brewed their own homemade beer 
  • The South African couple were unable to buy their own beer due to a ban 
  • All alcohol and tobacco sales have been banned during the Covid-19 lockdown
  • The couple’s illicit alcohol supply was taken by police for forensic testing   

A couple who made up a batch of home-brew beer to get round South Africa’s tough alcohol  ban during lockdown died in agony after drinking one bottle of the ale each.

Tony Hilliar, 54, and Alida Fouche, 42, had run out of their own supplies of alcohol and decided to make their own brew with no end of the controversial restrictions in sight.

It is believed both collapsed at their home in Port Nolloth in Northern Cape province after sampling the homebrew and that estate agent Tony made a desperate call for help.

South African couple Tony Hilliar, 54, and Alida Fouche, 42,died after making their own illicit supply of beer to get around their country’s strict alcohol ban 

After drinking some of the home brew, Ms Fouche collapsed. Mr Hilliar called for an ambulance and collapsed holding his stomach in agony. He died a short time later in hospital 

Emergency services who arrived at the scene found secretary Alida already dead on the floor and her fiancé Tony writhing in agony nearby clutching his stomach in pain.

He was rushed to hospital but died and police investigators sent two empty bottles of home brew beer for forensic testing fearing that they died from alcohol poisoning.

The rest of the batch which had not been drunk was also seized and taken away for laboratory testing.

Close friend Tommy Cockcroft, 52, said: ‘They both liked a drink at the end of the day which is typically South African but thanks to this poorly thought out government ban there is no alcohol.

‘Everyone is making their own beer so Tony did as well but it seems something went terribly wrong with the brew and that they both collapsed and died very senseless deaths.

‘This alcohol ban is just beyond total belief and there is no sense whatsoever in it and the sooner people are treated like grown ups the better’ he said.

Friends of , Ms Fouche, pictured, and Mr Hilliar claimed the alcohol ban was responsible for their deaths

Pastor Bertus de Jager who knew the couple well said: ‘They were very much in love and you would always see them around the town or on the beach hand in hand together.

‘They were lovely people and had been together about six years and were engaged to be married two years ago. This is so so tragic’ he said.

South African Police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba confirmed that Alida was found dead at the flat and that her partner died in intensive care in the local hospital several days later.

He said: ‘A 42-year-old woman was found dead in a flat and 54-year-old man was found in extreme pain and subsequently died in hospital and an inquest docket has been opened for both.

‘Two empty bottles of homemade brew have been seized for forensic tests’ he said.

South Africa went into Covid-19 lockdown six weeks ago on March 26 and among the many restrictions was the total ban on the sale or purchase or transportation of alcohol.

Now there is growing anger amongst the 58 million strong population at the ban on alcohol sales after President Cyril Ramaphosa said it would only last  three weeks but has been rolled over twice.

He has also banned the sale or purchase of cigarettes nationwide as part of his strict coronavirus lockdown which only a week ago allowed people to exercise within 5km of their homes.

The illicit production of home brewed alcoholic pineapple beer has gone through the roof with 10 times as many pineapples now being bought than when the alcohol ban was brought in.

Google announced that ‘how to brew homemade alcohol’ was amongst their top internet searches in South Africa and it is almost impossible due to demand to find brewing yeast in supermarkets.

South African Breweries have also just announced that it will have to pour 400 million bottles of beer down the drain as they are not allowed to transport it to their bottling plants.

President Ramaphosa however is refusing all calls to relax the hugely unpopular alcohol or cigarette bans despite the colossal loss to the struggling country in taxation revenue.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said earlier this week: ‘I don’t like the ban on alcohol and tobacco. I lost the debate in Cabinet and therefore I must toe the line or I must leave the Cabinet’.

Parliament’s Finance & Appropriation Committee was also told that the tax lost by the alcohol ban for just April alone was the equivalent of £29.5m for beer, £13.3m for wine and £17.7m for spirits.

That does not include 13 days of lockdown outside April and with no end in sight of the ban being lifted there is growing anger amongst the population at off-licences staying shut.

The South African Liquor Brandowners Association called for the ban to be lifted stating that the revenue loss to the nation was enormous and that the industry was deeply affected. 

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