When COVID 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 were struggling even before the pandemic.
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.
“Early data for 2022 showed that brewery closures are on the rise and some sales have been spotty, said Bart Watson, senior economist for the Brewers Association, craft beer’s largest trade organization. “2022 is going to be a make-or-break year for many breweries,” he said earlier this month while delivering the results of the association’s state-of-the-industry report.
Now with rising interest rates and the worst inflation in nearly 40 years, craft brewery and bar closing announcements are unfortunately becoming more frequent.
Wisconsin’s Brasserie V Closes after 15 Years
On August 20 Brasserie V, a Madison, Wisconsin beer institution that focused on Belgian beers took to social media to announce its closure at the end of the month. And while the impact of the pandemic was a factor, staffing challenges that began well before the well before COVID-19 was the ultimate reason.
“The crux of this is labor supply,” co-owner Andrea Van Nest told Madison.com. “It’s not as simple as you need to pay people more to get workers to come to you. It’s that there’s a finite number of people that we’re all trying to attract. This goes back far, well beyond COVID.”
This from that announcement…
To Our Brasserie V Family and Friends
With a very heavy heart we are announcing that we are closing Brasserie V on Saturday August 27. We are so very proud of our 15 years bringing a little bit of Belgium to Monroe Street.
We wouldn’t have reached this milestone without the talent, dedication and hard work of all of our amazing staff over the years. They have all been an integral part of the Brasserie V experience, and we are grateful.
We count ourselves fortunate to have worked with so many local and independent farmers, cheesemakers, bakers, brewers and other artisan purveyors. The quality and passion they put into their work is an enormous part of what has made our food and drink so special.
We also appreciate our partnerships with the people and organizations that champion local business, and thank them for their commitment.
The restaurant industry has changed dramatically since we opened in 2007. One thing that hasn’t changed is the support from this incredible community.
Matt, Andrea and Zoe
Milwaukee Ale House to Close in September
On September 11 the Milwaukee Ale House, the brewpub component of Milwaukee Brewing, will close its doors for good.
“After such a long tenure here on the water, we are losing our beautiful home, and the city is losing a staple in the restaurant and brewing scene,” the company wrote on Facebook. “In true Ale House fashion, though, we’ll be tapping kegs and frying curds until the very end.”
Founded in 1997 Milwaukee Brewing’s production facility has also been sold as a turnkey operation to an unnamed buyer.
According to the listing, Milwaukee Brewing’s production facility, has an annual capacity of 75,000 barrels with the ability to expand production up to 200,000 barrels…