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Virus could spell ‘catastrophe’ for small brewers

Published: 1 May 2020 at 11:30

Beer bottles

Research is investigating how small firms are innovating to stay afloat

Small breweries in the UK are being urged to share their experiences of how the coronavirus shutdown has affected business, to inform new research by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

The research will help to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and also how breweries and allied industries are responding. By understanding how brewers are innovating, and keeping business going despite the lock-down, the research will help to highlight best practice in the sector. 

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), recently wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for support for small brewers. It estimates that beer sales have dropped by 82% as a result of coronavirus lockdown measures and the closing of pubs.

Tom Goodacre, of the Faculty of Business and Law at ARU, said:

“With pubs, restaurants and taprooms closed as a result of Government measures to thwart the pandemic, brewers have seen many traditional sources of income wiped out in recent weeks.

“The virus has potential to have a catastrophic effect on small brewers, especially as we have seen the number of new breweries opening flatten out after a surge between 2012 and 2018.

“Identifying what breweries can do to keep going in this context will help in the return to normal, once the restrictions are lifted, and we are able to return to pubs, bars and restaurants.

“We are asking those small brewers to fill in our survey to let us know their experiences, in order to produce impactful research to inform policy makers of how best to help these small businesses in the long run.”

The anonymous survey can be accessed at https://angliaruskin.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/assessing-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-brewing-industry