How have craft breweries responded to the COVID-19 crisis and what will their businesses look like moving forward? We hear from four breweries during the final session in our Crisis Mode webinar series — “Overcoming a Crisis,” moderated by Ekos Senior Digital Marketing Manager Elliott Antal.
- Ben Roesch, Brewmaster and Co-founder at Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, MA
- Kary Shumway, CFO at Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, MA
- Eric Hashberger, Director of Retail Operations at WeldWerks Brewing Co. in Greeley, CO
- Jason zumBrunnen, Brewmaster and Co-founder at Ratio Beerworks in Denver, CO
- Mike Boggess, VP of Operations at Societe Brewing Company in San Diego, CA
- Teddy Gowan, Director of Brewing Operations at Societe Brewing Company in San Diego, CA
Read the recap below and watch the video to hear these seasoned brewers describe how their businesses are coping with the crisis and what they think the brewing industry might look like in the future.
Question 1: How has your business pivoted to handle the crisis?
The strategies used by the breweries on the panel vary depending on their markets and business models. Some discussed dramatically increasing their packaged products and using online stores for to-go orders and deliveries. Others are focusing on their relationships with distribution partners to push into new markets and increase the distribution of their products. Staff morale is also a high priority as managers consider how teams can stay connected while many staff members are furloughed or cannot physically be in the brewery at the same time.
Question 2: What will the brewing industry and your business specifically look like in the future?
While the panelists are looking forward to the day when operations get back to a semblance of normalcy, few are optimistic that the taproom will be the powerhouse it was in the past. With that in mind, some are looking at larger packaging sizes, increasing distribution, diversifying sales and marketing strategies, and focusing on safety when taprooms do open again. Morale and employee safety are also a top concern when deciding what on-premise sales will look like moving forward.