MARIESA POTGIETER

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup well underway and the Springboks heading into the semi-finals, South Africa is living the excitement of the rugby by watching it on big screens with friends and enjoying a refreshing beer. While the South African fans are content, problems might arise in Japan with regards to beer supplies.

The Rugby World Cup runs from September to November and more than 400 000 international fans are expected to come and support their teams. Organisers of the Rugby World Cup have raised the issue that beer might run out when supporters are craving more. The Rugby World Cup is the third-largest sporting event in the world, coming behind the Soccer World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games. However, researchers have revealed that rugby supporters drink six times more beer than the average soccer fan. Foreign rugby fans also drink more than the average Japanese rugby fan. During the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, 1.9 million litres of beer were consumed.

A beer shortage could damage the reputation of the Japanese hospitality industry through negative media coverage and unhappy fans. This would not be the first time that a host nation would run out of beer and that is why the organisers are so concerned. In the 2003 World Cup in Australia, beer sold out during the Argentina against Ireland game. The same happened in 2007 in Marseilles, France. Many bars ran out of beer when South Africa played against Fiji in the quarter-finals.

The official sponsor for beer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup is Heineken and they are stocking up their beer to ensure that will not be a shortage thereof. However, other businesses in the area of the World Cup are not convinced that they need to stock extra beer and are keeping to their regular quantities. They believe that fans might not know about these small businesses and they don’t expect any special demand of their beer.

Soon enough, it will be revealed whether the Japanese have stocked enough beer for the entire two months of the tournament. The Rugby World Cup is heading to the semi-final stages, causing even more excitement for rugby fans and the potential for them wanting even more beer to celebrate the victories of their teams.

Illustration: Giovanna Janos

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