American Craft Brewery Closures Escalate

, American Craft Brewery Closures Escalate

Fasten your seatbelts beer lovers because 2023 is already shaping up to be be a rocky ride.

When COVID first hit in 2020, we expected a massive number of brewery closures. That didn’t happen.

Sure some breweries did close during what would become almost two years of on and off lockdowns, but many of those operations were struggling even before the pandemic.

So how did some breweries survive this difficult stretch and why are more closing now?

The answer for many is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the largest stimulus in history. And nearly $400bn of this $2.2 trillion aid package went to help small business owners, and many of those small business owners were craft breweries.

But that kind of economic support is now a memory and breweries are once again on their own in a post-pandemic world, where even the parameters of what a “recovery” is may have changed.

Even though beer sales are recovering from the lows of 2020 and the public is returning to bars and taprooms, for many craft breweries things aren’t normalizing fast enough. And many are burdened by debts incurred over one of the most difficult economic periods the country has ever seen.

Now with rising interest rates, interminable supply chain challenges, rising rents and the worst inflation in nearly 40 years, craft brewery closures seem to be picking.

, American Craft Brewery Closures Escalate

(Courtesy Beltway Brewing)

Beltway Brewing Ceases Production

Founded by Sten Sellier in 2011, Northern, VA-based Beltway Brewing was a 30 barrel operation that produced its own beers as well as contract-brewed beers for other big name craft breweries.

“Beltway was built for distribution, not just taproom sales,” Sellier explained to DC Beer

“During the pandemic the larger craft breweries, the regional craft breweries, and the macros [think Bud, Miller, and Coors, plus seltzer and canned cocktails] squeezed mid-sized breweries like us pretty hard” with regards to distribution and off-premise sales,” added Sellier. “As the pandemic waned the opportunities present in the pre-covid environment never came back for breweries of our size.”

And on January 4, Sten took to social media to announce Beltway’s closure…

It’s time to say goodbye.

When you decide to start a brewery, you always know that one day you’ll brew your last batch, but you never expect it to be the one you just brewed. Unfortunately for Beltway Brewing, that time has come.

While I could regale you with Monday morning quarterbacking of all the things we should have or could have done differently over the past decade, the reality is that closing our doors is less the result of missed opportunities and more about the macroeconomic factors facing the brewing industry and the commercial real estate market here in Loudoun county.

I am incredibly proud and thankful to my team for their iron-willed fortitude and dedication in facing the many challenges all businesses faced over the past few years. Unfortunately, recent hurdles were greater than our ability to overcome them.

With that said, although our production has now ceased, we will keep our taproom open as long as we can to share what remains of our last brews with all of you. Through at least January, our taproom will continue to be open during our regular hours.

We look forward to seeing you all over the coming weeks and waxing nostalgic with you over a glass of your favorite brews. Come thirsty, leave happy, and bring the memories with you from your friends at Beltway Brewing.



, American Craft Brewery Closures Escalate


Mumford Ends Decade of Brewing In Downtown LA

Described by LA Eater as an anchor of the Los Angeles craft brewing scene “that had accelerated over the past half-decade-plus to become one of the most recognizable taps in town, Mumford Brewing took to Instagram in the last hours of 2021 to announce that its run had ended.

The message we never wanted to post…

This weekend will be the final weekend for our brewery.

The last few years have been tough on the business and hard on the industry in general. At this point, we have made the hard choice to shut our doors.

It has been a wild 7 1/2 years since we opened and we truly appreciate the people that have supported us along the way, our customers, our staff, the breweries we have collaborated with and everyone who helped along the way.

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