INDEPENDENT breweries on the Mornington Peninsula are under pressure as their taprooms, bars and community areas are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past decade, independent breweries have become part of the peninsula’s economy, adding to the its reputation as a hub for innovation and culinary excellence creating places for social connection. They are likely to be important assets as communities struggle to get back on their feet following COVID-19.
The Independent Brewers Association is calling for people to buy locally made beer to support these businesses in their time of need.
David and Karen Golding, who established Red Hill Brewery in Shoreham Road, Red Hill South, in 2005 are selling beer online and offering a take-away service to try and keep their team in business.
“We’re not confident we are going to see this through,” Ms Golding said. “Initially, we advised our workforce to visit Centrelink, but we’re hoping the recent JobKeeper arrangements will enable them to stay on and help us to stay in business in some way.
“We don’t want a government-backed loan to build more debt. It’s already hard enough in small business and we’re shattered to see all our customers’ businesses going through the same. I cannot imagine what the other side is going to look like.
“But we can only take it day by day, week by week; it’s all happened so fast we can only wait and see what’s coming this week.”
Richard Jeffares, of Two Bays Brewing Co, in Trewhitt Court, Dromana, is more hopeful as bottle shops can stay open.
“We only make gluten-free beers so we have a bit of a niche following with small and major retailers, and online sales have always been a part of our model,” he said.
“At any time we could be sending beer to Darwin, Port Headland or Broken Hill.”
Mr Jeffares said sales were down by up to 50 per cent. “We are doing our best to keep people engaged online to drive sales through our website.”
Independent Brewers Association chairman Peter Philip said more than 650 independent breweries employed about 3000 people and support a further 25,000 in the wider economy in agriculture, logistics, manufacturing, tourism and related services.
“I’ve done forecasts of the best and worst-case scenarios and even the best case is pretty devastating for the industry,” Mr Philip said.
“The government assistance package announced so far is helpful, but we’re still to understand how brewers can recover with little to no revenue over an extended period.
To find out what services are available at Red Hill Brewery, Two Bays Brewing and at other independent breweries visit iba.org.au