Some consumers of “Akpeteshie”, a locally manufactured gin, in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis are angry over what they describe as an 'unnecessary increase' in the price of the product.
They have attributed the price hike of the local gin partly to the recent increment in the prices of petroleum products which has adversely affected the prices of some products including “Akpeteshie”.
According to them, Akpeteshie, the most patronized drink due to its affordability, was receiving low patronage because of the price increase.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE in separate interviews, majority of the consumers did not hide their frustrations over the petrol price hike which had adversely affected Akpeteshie prices, and called on the government to do something about the situation.
At Blue Kiosk, a popular drinking spot near the Takoradi Polytechnic, the bar attendant who only gave his name as Williams noted that even though the prices of raw materials used in producing the local gin had not gone up, the prices of Akpeteshie had seen some increment because of the increase in transportation costs.
He explained that the price of one drum of Akpeteshie had moved from GH¢120.00 to GH¢130.00 and as a result the small glass of the product also called 'tot' has also jumped from Gp30 to Gp40.
He disclosed that he previously used to sell at least three or four drums of Akpeteshie a month, but now it was very difficult to sell even half of that, as most of the customers were no longer coming to buy.
When DAILY GUIDE visited another drinking spot near the New Takoradi station, the consumers present were of the opinion that since Akpeteshie was usually patronized by the poor in society, the increase in the price of the product would deprive the poor from their pleasure.
“Akpeteshie is easily the most recognizable alcoholic brand in Ghana. Even without any advertisements, the drink had survived over the years but the price increment might collapse the business in the face of the current socio-economic hardship,” they remarked.
In an interview, Sylvia Andoh, owner of the drinking spot said the increment would have adverse effects on her business, since most regular customers would stop patronizing her spot.
She mentioned that apart from the prices of Akpeteshie which had gone up, the prices of other drinks like Guinness, Castle Milk Stout, Gulder, Stone and the rest, had also gone up.
“Guinness used to be GH¢2.80 but it's now GH¢3. The prices of the mini sachet of Castle Bridge, Madingo, Herb Afrik, and Ginseng bitters have all gone up,” she added.
At Owomo Oye drinking bar at Kwesimintsim near Takoradi, the bar attendant confirmed the price hike of Akpeteshie and remarked that he depended solely on the sale of Akpeteshie and other hard drinks for the survival of his family adding, “as such, if the drink becomes much more expensive, people will be compelled to smuggle them into other countries.”
He pointed out that the increase in transportation cost of the product from the producing centre at Ewuseijoe in the Ahanta West District to Kwesimintsim had compelled drinking bar operators in the area to also increase prices on the local gin.
“If the government says we should patronize local goods, why are they discouraging people from drinking Akpeteshie brewed locally? I can't stop drinking Akpeteshie, because it is better and affordable”, one of the customers noted.
Efforts to get the executives of the Western Regional Distillers and Retailers Union to comment on the issue proved futile as their offices were locked when DAILY GUIDE visited on Monday.