Harare - After a busy day trying to survive Zimbabwe's economic crisis, Jeffrey Ndoro likes to relax after work with a beer.
Even with inflation spiralling out of control, beer had been comparatively cheap before a price crackdown by President Robert Mugabe's government caused supplies to dry up.
"Of all the things, you can't find beer - this is too much," said Ndoro, sipping a soda at his drinking spot, the Chelsea Pub.
Ndoro is left with few alcoholic options. A shot of imported whisky, for example, is far too expensive.
Zimbabweans have been struggling with severe shortages of fuel, food and foreign currency, and now the few pleasures of life are rapidly disappearing.
Mugabe has warned businesses they will face dire consequences if they ignore his price-capping campaign, another bid to tame the world's highest inflation rate that has cut supplies of maize-meal, milk, sugar and meat.
Police have targeted more than 7 500 business people and companies for overcharging and Mugabe has vowed to escalate the crackdown, launched in June.
The shortages of basic goods have increased the misery of Zimbabweans struggling with crumbling sewers, water and electricity cuts, and rising unemployment.
In poor townships, where the majority of urban residents live, beer shortages are severe and liquor stores, normally a hive of activity, now close early.
At a beer outlet in central Harare, the owner sat on an empty freezer reading a newspaper. He was frequently interrupted by customers inquiring about beer. He told them the last delivery was six days ago.
Across town, employees were forced to close a liquor store which had beer, after being overwhelmed by a large crowd. In the end beer was rationed to two per customer.
"I have never heard of a place where there is beer rationing," an angry man who identified himself only as Sam told Reuters.
"At this rate, we will be buying beer on the black market."
With summer approaching, thirst-quenching may become a nightmare. Sales of less fancied spirits and wines are up but supplies are running low.
Ndoro, a 25-year-old pharmacy clerk, fears he won't be sipping another soothing beer at the Chelsea anytime soon.
"I am sure things will get worse. But I guess this is now beyond our control," he said, shrugging
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