Analysis from the Society of Independent Brewers has shown that 200 million fewer pints of craft beer were brewed in 2020 compared to 2019.
Here’s what we know…
Last Friday the UK government announced sobering economic news. Reflecting the profound impact of COVID-19 Britain’s GDP (gross domestic product) dropped by 9.9% in 2020, its largest annual contraction since the Great Frost of 1709.
But a Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) survey painted an even more devastating picture of the plight that UK brewers are now facing…
According to SIBA 200 million fewer pints of craft beer were brewed in 2020 compared to 2019, a number that represents ten years of lost growth in the sector.
Eighty-three per cent of the breweries surveyed reported producing less beer, with sales through the vital Christmas period sales were down 45%. England remains in a nationwide lockdown with no clear end date.
Nearly all its pubs are closed, effectively putting an end to craft beer sales in the country. To survive, breweries have been adapting, with the numbers who run an on-site brewery shop jumping from 37% in 2019 to 60% in 2020.
But even a 23% increase in direct-to-consumer sales couldn’t make up for the massive losses incurred by the prolonged bar, pub and restaurant closures which remain in place.
SIBA chief executive, James Calder reacted to what can only be described as concerning numbers…
“These startling figures demonstrate how brewers have been at the sharp end of restrictions within hospitality. They have done their best to adapt and to survive, but without targeted grant support in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and a swift and sensible re-opening of the economy, many will not survive.
“Independent breweries are rooted in their communities and can be engines of economic recovery if our politicians recognize this and act.”
Calder called for continuing government subsidies to keep brewer afloat, as well as the “re-opening of pubs, bars, and hospitality much sooner than we fear it will be.”
As of Friday morning, the UK had recorded more than 4 million cases of the coronavirus and 115,000 deaths according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The UK has been plagued by new and even more transmissible variants of the virus in recent months.
Analysis from SIBA, has “shown that 200 million fewer pints of craft beer were brewed in 2020 compared to 2019,” according to Beer Today. “This figure represents ten years of lost growth in the sector, with production of craft beer last being at these levels in 2009.