Diageo SA supports launch of 88 Beach Soweto and 88 Society

The Covid-19 lockdown might have changed the face of 88 Vilakazi Street but the pandemic hasn’t been able to stifle the creativity of Nkululeko Dada Maseko, who has reinvented his hospitality business to meet the challenges head on.

“When Covid-19 hit, the gin bar we were running closed down and we came up with the idea to start something different for Vilakazi Street, which is very formal and mostly restaurants,” Maseko said. 88 Beach Soweto was born in the larger outdoor space behind the former gin bar, bringing a luxury party beach vibe to Soweto’s most famous street, featuring a large area of beach sand.

But cashflow has been tough during the lockdown and many jobs were lost as a result. 88 Beach is one of 400 hospitality industry businesses which are receiving support from Diageo South Africa after the financial losses caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, with the #WeChoose campaign which provides a stock injection and marketing support, as well as a movement to ensure the promotion of responsible drinking.

The purpose of #WeChoose, launched in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, is to help rebuild the liquor industry, which was hit by months of not being able to trade either at all, or only during restricted hours. “We will do this responsibly in terms of both trading and consumption,” said Diageo SA’s Marketing Director, Zizwe Vundla. “We want to avoid yet another strict lockdown where the alcohol industry suffers, so all parties need to play their part – responsible trading by outlets and responsible consumption by consumers.”

Maseko said Diageo’s financial support had helped the business to relaunch the gin studio space as Society 88. “This everyday venue will be a place to enjoy breakfast and do some work on your laptop, and in the evening, turn into a venue which curates experiences based on urban culture and music.”

“Diageo was a great help they put money into our bottom line and allowed us to trade by giving us stock. We are also investing in our infrastructure so that we have and indoor and outdoor venue which is suitable for all seasons. We have built a good business, but we understand this support is not compulsory.”

“#WeChoose to trade responsibly and we ask our customers that they choose to be responsible too, and use #WeChoose to drink responsibly on their social media platforms to show support,” Maseko said.

To watch an interview with Maseko – Click here



Instagram: 88beachsoweto

Facebook: 88 beach


Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding portfolio of brands consisting of Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness and many more. Diageo’s alcohol beverages are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the New York Stock Exchange (DEO).

For more information about Diageo, visit and Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource,, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

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Launch Video –


#WeChoose to Trade Responsibly and #WeChoose to Drink Responsibly

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Diageo South Africa has assisted more than 400 on-premise establishments, including bars, taverns and restaurants to rebuild their businesses after the Covid-19 lockdowns. A total of R200 million in stock replenishments, cash and marketing support, has been given, as well as the beginning of a new movement to promote responsible drinking.

The #WeChoose campaign, launched by Diageo in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town on 01 March 2021, aims to help rebuild on-premise establishments, hit by repeated lockdowns totalling many months of closure or very restricted trade hours. “We want to see businesses thrive again and people to be able to come together, but we aim to do this responsibly in terms of both trading safely and consuming responsibly,” said Diageo SA’s Marketing Director, Zizwe Vundla.

“The country’s extended alcohol bans have heavily impacted businesses and the families behind them not to mention the wider supply chain, and millions in lost taxes. Many small businesses have not survived, and jobs have been lost, causing people to slide into poverty.

“By providing stock injections, formal on-premise outlets can use the revenue generated to help get their establishment back up and running – such as renewing liquor licences and replenishing other stock. Many of these outlets have exhausted their funds during lockdown and are unable to purchase stock to reopen. So this is the difference between reopening and not.”

Each outlet chosen will receive stock of up to R6 000, depending on their size.

In addition, Diageo SA is providing marketing support to help generate publicity for on-premise outlets. “Many consumers might have forgotten their favourite local places during lockdown, so we are helping to remind them, while at the same time encouraging responsible drinking.”

Diageo will provide the chosen liquor traders with retail and ‘Business of Bars’ tender training, menu design and production, branded collateral – such as umbrellas and glassware and small-scale activations to help them drive their volumes, “all of which will be in-line with Covid-19 regulations, helping to ensure customer safety”

Issues such as underage drinking, binge drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol will be tackled as part of the campaign.

Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurant Association of South Africa said many restaurants had closed their doors because they could not trade through the restrictions. “It is imperative that all parts of industry come together – the consumer needs to play their part and the public needs to take responsibility – not only in the restaurant sector, but in public drinking in completion.”

Lucky Ntimane, Convenor: The National Liquor Traders Council added that the lockdown restrictions have been dire for 34 000 taverns which had about 250 000 jobs linked to them. ”Liquor traders must take a leading role in promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol.”

Diageo is calling on consumers and traders to remain vigilant about observing Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

”Diageo’s goal is an alcohol-safe South Africa and not an alcohol-free one. We truly believe that if properly and healthily regulated, the alcohol industry can be a positive force for South Africa”, concluded Zizwe Vundla


A total of R200 million in stock replenishments, cash and marketing support, has been given, as well as the beginning of a new movement to promote responsible drinking.

Of the overall investment Diageo SA is providing, the R200 million has been split as such:

•         20% towards stock injections,

•         40% towards marketing and collateral, and

•         30% towards outlet refurbishments and selling tools. 

As the campaign involves, the budget is likely to increase and the splits may vary as things progress

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