Covid-19: How is it affecting the beer industry?

17/03/2020 As Covid-19 spreads across the US, beer companies and brands are getting ready for the uncertain times, and are working to adjust their business according to the events happening.

It’s no surprise that the Covid-19 coronavirus is causing havoc in the industry. The entirety of the beer industry is getting set for the near downfall that it might see.

So, how is Covid-19 affecting the beer industry right now?

On-premise sales on the down-low due to closures

Consumers have already started practicing ‘social distancing’, and have been staying indoors to protect themselves from the outbreak. Precautionary words have been passed around the country, warning people to stay away from large gatherings - or in fact, even gatherings above 6-7 people at one time.

Due to this, brewery taprooms and bars have made the decision to close down for the time being, for the safety of themselves, their teams, and their customers.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, closed all its retail locations for a week from March 13, and canceled all events for the rest of the month. Seattle’s Pike Brewing Company also announced the temporary closure of its Tankard & Tun seafood restaurant and oyster bar.

Of course, the closure of breweries and bars will have a large effect on the on-premise industry as people will not be able to go and enjoy a meal and a pint anymore.

Along with that, large events are also being cancelled across the globe to put in all the safety measures that they can.


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Checkout Brewbound’s list of bars and taproom closures

via GIPHY


Off-premise sales on the high

On the other hand, off-premise sales seem to be shooting up. Once again, due to social distancing, people have been seen stocking up on beer from supermarkets.

It seems to be that everyone is self-quarantining for the safety of themselves and others. However, before that, people are purchasing large amounts of products to last them a while - beer being one of them.

According to Brewbound.com: “Clearly the off-premise segment is having a little bit of a run right now as people stock their pantries, and that is clearly giving a boost to beer-buying,” said National Beer Wholesalers Association chief economist Lester Jones. “Are they taking home more than they usually did before, which I probably think is true, since they’re now planning on eating at home and drinking at home and spending their time at home”

Job transition and possible loss

With restaurants, bars, breweries, and taprooms closing down for a while, jobs are said to be in serious trouble.

According to Brewbound.com, Joshua Miller, a state senator and owner of Trinity Brewhouse in Rhode Island’s downtown area, told the Providence Journal that the downturn in business at the brewpub forced him to lay off about 20 employees.

However, there are also companies that are finding different ways to retain their employees. A great example is Seattle’s Pike Brewing Company. Having closed down Tankard & Tun, the company is transitioning its employees to The Pike Pub - which still remains open.

It’s all about finding ways to adjust in the situation. So, surely, while jobs will be lost, a lot of brands and companies will also find ways to retain their employees.

Online sales to shoot up

In the works of social distancing, people are now starting to order drinks online for their own benefits. Websites which have access to door to door delivery are the ones who are going to face good amounts of orders over the next couple of weeks.

In fact, online retailers are also putting their foot forward and helping out with the social distancing precaution. TapRm, which is an online retailer for alcohol delivery in New York, has lowered its minimum order for same-day delivery and online orders from $50 to $25, so they can encourage their consumers to stay home.

All in all, when stocks start running out, it’s the online shopping that folks are going to go towards.

Helping hands

Across the industry, pages and forums are being created to help out each other.

The Brewers Association Coronavirus Resource Center - It focuses on helping the beer industry with links to sanitary draft maintenance practices, antimicrobial products, the association’s food safety plan for craft breweries, cleaning and sanitation practices for manufacturing and other helpful guidances.

The National Restaurant Association Online Resource Page - similar to that of the Brewers Association, the trade group that represents the nation’s restaurateurs has also built a platform to help out.

The Upside

Right now the industry is definitely seeing a downfall, but with the precautions being taken, and all hands on board - we are hopeful to see a rise very soon once things die down a little. Even though on-premise might not be booming as of now, we are placing our bets on off-premise sales and online sales to push the industry up once again.

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