The short answer is yes, absolutely.
And although there’s never a good time for a global pandemic, Covid-19 couldn’t have come a worse time for many craft brewers or the overall industry.
The degree to which the coronavirus will affect the craft beer industry remains to be seen, but we promise you it will impact the biz and lead to (some/many?) brewery closings.
It’s also going to change the craft beer landscape at least temporarily…
For the last couple of years larger craft breweries (operations like Stone or Sierra Nevada for instance) which are heavily dependent on large distribution networks and retail sales have suffered economically as beer fans migrated to uber-local breweries and taproom sales.
With the spread of the ultra-contagious coronavirus people obviously won’t be frequenting beer venues as much. The reality is (as we best understand it) in a crowded bar or taproom the only thing guaranteed to not spread the aggressive virus is the beer itself…everything else is up for grabs.
Unfortunately bars, restaurants and yes taprooms will all take a hit as Covid-19 spreads and depending on their health going into this now global event…some will survive and others won’t.
Retail beer sales will also be impacted as people defensively self-quarantine themselves and limit their shopping activities as much as possible. However beer retailers might possibly experience a Covid-19 bump, as people wait out this thing with Netflix and beer consumed at home.
Alcohol industry gatherings are already being impacted by the virus. Messe Düsseldorf has announced that it has cancelled ProWein, Europe’s largest wine industry trade show held annually in Düsseldorf, Germany, over coronavirus concerns.
And when an event as enormous as Austin, Texas’ SXSW cancels, you know that all bets are off…
Even though the Craft Brewers Conference, the world’s biggest beer industry convention which is being held on April 19th-22 in San Antonio, Texas this year is still a go…the Brewers Association continues to closely monitor the developments of the COVID-19 outbreak and is in close and regular contact with the City of San Antonio. So that too might change.
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.
Unfortunately lives and livelihoods will be lost well beyond the brewing industry, and we can only hope that it all passes soon.