80% of SC Brewers Say Three Months is All they Got Under Current Conditions
The South Carolina Brewers Guild is the latest state guild to reveal a statewide impact survey on the effects the current crisis has had on their craft brewing industry. Unfortunately, the results are as bleak as all the others.
The findings from South Carolina, which were published by The Post and Courier, show that:
- On average, sales from breweries and brewpubs are down by 70%, with about 45% showing sales declines of more than 80%.
That’s considerably worse than the stats coming out of California, which showed brewers in the state were experiencing an average decline of 43%; and in line with what we’ve seen in Texas too, which showed that brewers in the Lone Star State are seeing an average drop of 71% in revenue.
As for production in South Carolina, the survey revealed, per Post and Courier, that:
- 35% of all breweries ceased production entirely, with 60% slowing it.
The California survey did not share such information, but this is about in line with what we saw in Texas, which showed that 27% of Texas brewers have “temporarily” halted production, and 67% reducing production.
When it comes to layoffs and furloughs in South Carolina’s craft industry, the survey said:
- About 70% of breweries have laid off or furloughed employees.
That’s once again on par with what we saw from the survey in Texas with nearly two-thirds of the respondents (63%) stating they’ve had to lay off or furlough employees.
California’s results on furloughs/layoffs are significant too, which showed that “29 percent of respondent’s total workforces have been laid off and additional 31 percent furloughed.”
But perhaps the most worrisome finding from the South Carolina survey, is a question on how much longer the state’s brewers can weather the storm (a question that was not covered in the Texas or California survey):
In South Carolina we see that:
- 80% of respondents won’t remain open after three months. 15% say they won’t be able to stay open another one to four weeks and 65% say they likely will only be able to stay open between one and three months.
There were 82 breweries operating in South Carolina as of 2018, so those results would indicate that around 66 brewers in the state are unsure if they’ll make it to see August. And recall that while the 80% figure above is shocking, it’s not too far off from the number revealed in the Brewers Association’s latest impact survey, which showed from a national perspective that almost 60% of respondents believe they have between a week to three months to stay open in the current scenario.
LOBBYING FOR DELIVERY AND DIRECT SHIPPING TOO. The Post and Courier also noted that along with the release of the findings from the Guild was an ask to the state government for the removal of restrictions on home delivery and direct shipping, pointing to the fact that “at least 26 other states have eased those restrictions.” Recall the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, whose own survey produced similar results, made a similar move, presenting the troubling results and highlighting the need for relief, such as the temporary allowance of home delivery and direct shipping.
SURVEYS AREN’T INTENDED TO SCARE, THEY’RE MEANT TO INFORM. There’s no doubt that the data coming out of these surveys are frightening to some, but the people behind these surveys want to remind everyone that their intention isn’t to scare, it’s to inform.
Executive Director of the South Carolina Brewers Guild, Brook Bristow, tweeted a link to the story, clarifying that “releasing the data wasn’t done to scare, but it was done to show that we need further relief to aid these small businesses as we have no idea how long this will last or when anyone will be able to move back to an on-premises model or when we do, how limited that will be.”
BA chief economist Bart Watson also tweeted echoing Brook’s comments that they’re “not publishing this data to scare people – but to help small businesses we need to be clear about the magnitude of the challenge they face.”
LONGTIME AUSTIN BREWPUB, NXNW, PERMANENTLY CLOSING AFTER COVID SHUTTERINGS
Coronavirus is claiming some well-known and long-lived craft brands. One recent such incident hit close to your editor’s Texas home: Austin outlets are reporting that one of the city’s original brewpubs, 20-year-old NXNW, whose colorful cans can be found at local H-E-B’s, Whole Foods and even c-stores, is closing permanently.
“Owner Davis Tucker, a pioneer of the city’s craft beer industry, confirmed the closure Thursday, after employees had been told,” per Austin360.com report.
“It’s been a great run, but we felt like we had to make the call sooner rather than later,” Davis was quoted in the paper. “We just don’t know how long (the city’s mandated closure) is going to last. We made the call now so our employees could move on in life.”
It’s a bit surprising, given the brand’s local fame. It was carried in many other outlets besides the brewpub. NXNW’s Barton Kriek beer also garnered high national acclaim, having won bronze and gold medals at GABF and the World Beer Championship.
The original NXNW Arboretum location is the one shuttering now. But another location, erected in 2014, shuttered last year, leaving one to wonder if the brand was already in trouble.
But Austin360 reported that before the Coronavirus hit, “NXNW had plans to expand to a more ‘taproom-focused’ location and to take its beers outside of Austin.”
The virus and closures clearly sidelined those plans.
NXNW tried to make takeaway sales work. “The takeout-only model didn’t prove sustainable, and the brewpub announced on social media it was ceasing operations on March 28,” still believing they could potentially reopen.
That didn’t last, and Davis is “worried that selling to-go only won’t be viable for many restaurants much longer, and that additional places may join his in the ‘permanently closed’ column,” per 360’s paraphrasing.
Still, he says he may try his hand at yet another brewery once things go back to relative normal.
TRUMP’S THREE-PHASE PLAN RELEASED FOR OPENING OF ECONOMY
As sister publication Beer Business Daily reported this morning, the White House has released a tentative, three-phase plan for reopening the economy.
There are no set start dates and implementation will be driven by local and state authorities.
Before beginning the first phase, regions must meet some “gating criteria,” including declining cases “within a 14-day period,” verification that hospitals are able to manage case-loads “without crisis care,” and availability of testing for healthcare workers.
After that, the first phase does not permit bars to reopen, but large venues that can adhere to physical distancing guidelines including “sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues,” and “places of worship,” may be included in the first stage of re-opening.
The second phase allows “for states and regions with no evidence of a rebound” that continue to meet gating criteria.
At this point, bars can reopen with reduced occupancy and restaurants have more “moderate” physical distancing standards. Non-essential travel will also be opened up, although tele-work is still encouraged.
For phase three, regions that continue to meet the previously established guidelines will be allowed to “resume unrestricted staffing of worksites,” but everyone, including “low-risk individuals,” should avoid crowds.
In this final phase, large venues will be able to operate under “limited physical distancing protocols” and “bars may operate with increased standing room occupancy, where applicable.”
BOULEVARD BREWING PARTNERS WITH PLAYSTATION FOR “THE LAST OF US PART II” GAME RELEASE
Boulevard Brewing’s VP of marketing Natalie Gershon hinted to CBD at the beginning of the year that they had a video game partnership in the works for 2020. Earlier this week, the Kansas City-based brewers released the details.
They’re partnering with PlayStation to “commemorate the release of the upcoming PlayStation exclusive game The Last of Us Part II,” the sequel to award-winning The Last of Us.
The partnership will include “special-edition Boulevard Space Camper Cosmic IPA six-packs,” the packaging of which is emblazoned with the character Ellie’s tattoo from the new game, and a PlayStation4 Pro system giveaway contest.
Boulevard notes that due to current circumstances, the special-edition brew release will be limited, but available wherever Super Camper Cosmic IPA is normally sold. The deadline for entries into the giveaway of the PlayStation4 Pro system has also been extended through the end of August.
ARIZONA CRAFT BREWERS GUILD HOSTING VIRTUAL BEER FESTIVAL THIS SATURDAY
The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild announced last week that it is hosting a “Keep Arizona Brewing” virtual festival this Saturday, April 18, to benefit the Guild and affected members of the state’s craft brewing industry.
The event will be hosted through Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live starting at 2:00 (MST) and “will include chats with brewers, virtual tours of local breweries, a Make Your Own Wristband competition, Best Pretzel Necklace contest and even a live music stream called Couchella.”
Tickets range from $5 up to $50 for VIP, which gives the ticket holder the opportunity to chat with brewers and take part in the webcast. Additionally, those who purchase a T-shirt by April 15 get free admission.
“Beer enthusiasts are some of the most friendly and social people you will meet. It’s been tough on all of us not to be able to connect at beer bars, brewery taprooms or festivals,” Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, said. “But, even when we’re apart, we can still spend time together celebrating craft beer and showing our support for Arizona’s craft brewers. Help us keep Arizona brewing!”
GREEN FLASH LAUNCHING LOW-ALC ORGANIC “FRUITED WHEAT” WITH BLACK TEA, “BETER.” Following the better-for-you and wheat beer trend we’ve seen this year, Green Flash announced it will launch “Beter, its first USDA certified organic wheat beer infused with acai berries and black tea,” in May. The 4.2% ABV brew will sport a “new, fresh, clean white packaging look and feel.” It will launch next month, “and can be found in all Sprouts Market locations in California and Arizona, and in select stores of retailers such as Ralph’s and Raley’s.”
Jenn, Jordan, and Harry
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it!”
– Jonathan Winters
———- Sell Day Calendar ———-
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