I started writing this when Lockdown began, for some reason we didn’t publish it, we were in turmoil, we didn’t know what was going to happen but with your support we’re here. Lockdown is being relaxed, for better or for worse, people are still loving beer and someday we’ll all be able to drink together, again. For now though, here are our thoughts, in a series of blogs, from then to now.
The beginning of lockdown...March 25th 2020
Two weeks after the awards we closed our doors and saw the country lockdown. Like every industry the craft beer sector is now in turmoil. Suppliers have stopped shipping or limiting what they send out, breweries are selling directly to consumers, overnight keg and cask sales have all but dried up. Many in the sector have had to change their business model, pubs have turned into off licenses and are offering delivery, breweries who previously operated with 100% trade sales have turned to direct customer sales.
Coldrooms are full of unsold kegs and cask beer as people demand cans and pubs close their doors and hand pumps dry up. One brewer recently told me that they worked on a 70-30 split between kegs and cans, ontrade (pubs and bars) to off trade (shops) and now they are 100% off trade. Others with no canning facilities have been forced to mothball their operations, their future uncertain.
As a result we’re going to see a big shift in how all sides of the craft beer world operate in the future. But personally, if businesses survive we think change will be good. There is a feeling of everyone supporting each other across the supply chain, one brewer described us all being part of an ecosystem, and one can’t survive without the other. We think a deeper understanding and appreciation of how each element of that ecosystem works will prevail.