Beer events and alcohol trade shows are being scrapped or pushed back worldwide to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
And American Craft Beer is keeping tabs on the latest updates from the drinks industry.
Probably the biggest US event to close so far is SXSW in Austin…And while its primarily a film, music and tech gathering, it has also grown to become a serious promotional platform for many Big Beer companies looking to tie into South by Southwest’s mojo.
The City of Austin’s decision to close this enormous annual gathering speaks volumes to the growing concern over the COVID-19’s worldwide impact and sends a HUGE message to other event promoters that they shouldn’t be too cavalier about proceeding with any scheduled events for the near future.
In Northern Italy, the government has imposed strict quarantine that includes the closure of museums, cultural institutions and the suspension of all public gatherings and social events, including pubs, nightclubs and games halls…roughly 16 million people are in a state of lockdown until April 3.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson held an emergency meeting with the UK’s cabinet on March 9 to decide whether the country will undergo a similar lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.
And a spokesperson for the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) told the Drinks Business it would wait to hear the government’s advice before deciding whether or not to cancel Beer X, its annual trade show for the UK’s beer sector in Liverpool scheduled for March 9-11.
On Thursday March 5, Messe Düsseldorf, the promoter of ProWein, Europe’s largest wine show rescheduled the prominent trade show for 2021. And London’s RAW Wine Show which was scheduled for March 8-9 has also been cancelled.
In Seattle, Washington, a hot zone for COVID-19, the Washington Brewers Guild chose to cancel the 21st Annual Cask Beer Festival scheduled for Saturday, March 28th at Seattle Center.
But the 600 lb. gorilla in the room remains the status the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC), the world’s largest professional brewing event scheduled to take place in San Antonio on April 19-22.
As things stand now the CBC is a go. But the Brewers Association, who put on the annual conference and trade show, is closely monitoring the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak and is in close and regular contact with the City of San Antonio. So that too could change (especially in light of SXSW’s decision to cancel).
With the stock market plummeting over pandemic fears it’s becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 could elicit a significant worldwide economic and personal toll.
Lives and livelihoods will be lost at a cost well beyond the brewing industry, and we can only hope that it all passes soon.