Surveys Detail Craft Woes by State
As much of the country’s on premise locations remain shuttered for the moment (though some are beginning to reopen), many state brewers guilds are detailing their pain points via surveys, which paint grim prospects for their brewers and ask for more aid, as well as to extend emergency provisions like delivery. One thing is for sure: It’s going to be a long road to “normal,” as per our last story (below), revealing that most consumers don’t plan to frequent the on premise for months, regardless of when they’re actually allowed to do so. Read on.
NY STATE BREWERS ASSOCIATION FINDS MANY BREWERIES AT RISK OF CLOSING; ASKS FOR AID AND EXTENSION OF DELIVERY WAIVERS
A recent survey conducted by the New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) found that, of the state’s 440+ breweries, almost half anticipate going under within the next 3 months without additional assistance.
The NYSBA survey, which took place in the first half of April and received responses from 37% of the state’s breweries, shows that almost 75% of respondent brewers applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, per Syracuse.com.
” … The overall consensus shows that all regions of NYS have been significantly impacted by this pandemic. Without more aid from local, state and federal government, this industry may face a severe decline,” the NYSBA survey and report said.
This aid “could include deferrals of state and federal taxes; more low-interest or forgivable loans; relief from (or grants to help pay) utilities, rents and mortgages; and waivers on license renewal fees or registration fees for new brands,” the survey said.
“As in life right now, there’s a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios,” NYSBA director Paul Leone, said. “We’re trying to filter through a snapshot of where people will be a month from now, what will be open and how that will look. .. Recovery is a tricky question. We don’t know what recovery looks like.”
Additional survey information also found that breweries fired or furloughed, on average, 65.2% of full-time and 86.2% of part-times employees, almost half have stopped production altogether, and sales are down almost 75% for a majority of brewers.
PRODUCERS WILL ASK FOR DELIVERY/CURBSIDE PRIVILEGE EXTENSIONS. Paul says “states breweries, along with its wineries, distilleries and hard cider makers, intend to ask the governor to extend the waivers that have allowed things like curbside pickup and delivery even after things begin to open up” in order to make up for the likely lag in sales.
MAINE FEELING EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM SHUTDOWNS
Maine may not get to feel the desperately-needed benefits of tourist season this year, reports Bangor Daily News.
Based on a survey the Maine Brewers’ Association sent out to its 152 members (of which about ⅓ responded), over half of respondents report sales are down 50% or more, with another third saying they’re already down 80%. This has led to widespread layoffs and furloughs at craft brewers, with about 2/3 of brewers reducing staff in the past few weeks, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, Sean Sullivan, said.
According to the Maine Brewers’ Association, “One in five tourists, or 9 million visitors to Maine, stopped at a brewery while in the state in 2017,” contributing to the state’s $656 million dollar brewing industry.
But “the tourism industry is at a standstill right now,” Steve Hewins, president and CEO of industry group Hospitality Maine, said.
Right now, the state is waiting to hear from their governor to see if stay-at-home orders will be lifted and what phasing will look like if businesses open again. The state is expecting to hear from Gov. Janet Mills by the end of the week.
Even with recent intervention like the state allowing brewers to send growlers to-go last Thursday, the future for Maine craft brewers is uncertain.
While Sean doesn’t know exact figures or if breweries have shuttered yet, he anticipates “. . . if this goes on too long, I expect to see some closures.”
MANY MINNESOTA BREWERS FACING CLOSURES TOO IF STAY-AT-HOME ORDER EXTENDED
The majority of craft brewers in Minnesota say they may have to close their doors if their stay-at-home orders go much longer, per recent survey conducted by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild.
The survey put out to 77 of the Guild’s members show that “more than half” of the respondents say “they could be forced to close in three months if the stay-at-home order is extended beyond May 13,” reports the Star Tribune.
To try and provide some relief to the state’s brewers, the Guild has called on state legislators to temporarily allow “all breweries to sell beer in 12- to 64-ounce containers for at-home consumption, suspending regulatory fees for the rest of the year, waiving sales tax payments through October and establishing a forbearance and rent abatement program,” per report.
COULD BE MONTHS BEFORE PEOPLE RETURN TO TAPROOMS, NEW SURVEY SHOWS
A recent survey conducted by Monday Night Brewing reveals that – restrictions or no restrictions – it could be months before people start thinking about visiting a taproom again.
The Atlanta-based brewer sent out an online survey to “its most recent customers” and nearly 75% of the 743 respondents indicated that they “will not return to a taproom until June at the earliest.” About 40% said they may visit one “sometime in June,” a little over a fifth (21.7%) said they may venture out to one “sometime in July,” and 13.4% said they’ll plan for a visit in “August or later.”
Of course, some of the respondents may have answered that question with a degree of uncertainty, not knowing when their state will allow for such a visit. So, here’s a similar question with a different prompt that isn’t contingent on a specific state’s timeline: “In the 2 weeks after bars, restaurants, and breweries are open for onsite consumption again,” do you plan to visit one?
Just over a third (36%) said “yes.”
A little over 40% said “maybe.”
And just under a quarter said “no.”
Monday Night inquired about frequency too, asking how often the respondents plan to visit bars, restaurants, and taprooms in the three months after re-opening.
61% said they plan to “visit with the same frequency.”
28% said they will “visit less than normal.”
And 11% said they’ll “visit more than normal.”
Other findings from the survey show that “customers will demand greatly increased sanitation measures, smaller crowds, and enforcement of social distancing guidelines,” per company release.
Suffice it to say that “Anyone thinking we will return to ‘business as usual’ anytime soon—if at all—is in for a rude awakening,” Monday Night CEO Jeff Heck said in a release sharing the results. “The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we do business, and will significantly impact how we run our taprooms going forward.”
Indeed, it would appear that Monday Night is still laying out plans on when and how to reopen their taprooms.
As you may know, Monday Night’s home state of Georgia kicked off reopening efforts last week – to a fair amount of criticism – by bringing back dine-in business this week, and allowing for the reopening of restaurants, movie theaters, and private social clubs with strict sanitation and social distancing rules still in place, though bars and nightclubs remain closed.
“Despite the relaxation of shelter-in-place and social distancing restrictions in the state,” Monday Night said it’s two taprooms “will remain closed for the near future.”
See the full results from the survey here.
Jenn, Jordan, and Harry
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
– Dorothy Parker
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