Brewers go direct as pubs close

SCOTLAND’S breweries are stepping up direct sales to consumers amid the latest coronavirus restrictions on pubs.

Bars cannot currently sell alcohol indoors, with those in the Central Belt closed completely.

Alva-based Harviestoun Brewery has lifted the lid on how the latest restrictions are hitting its business.

Joint managing director Stu Cook said: “This is a devastating blow to both breweries and pubs around Scotland.

“Pubs shutting initially for the lockdown meant a devastating 75% of our revenue disappeared overnight.

“Thankfully, a nimble change in strategy to online sales allowed us to get through what was undoubtedly one of the toughest times the brewery has known.

“We’ve seen a record 2,000% increase in online beer and lager sales since launching our new next-day home delivery service during lockdown.”

He added: “Our deliveries to pubs and restaurants started back up in July, but are on hold again in the central belt of Scotland until an expected reopening date of 25 October.

“Just as the Scottish on-trade was starting to recover though, these measures will be a devastating blow to both the local breweries and the pubs that they supply and partner with.”

Flavoury launches ‘local lockdown’ pack

Meanwhile, craft beer website Flavourly is today launching a local lockdown pack, featuring beers brewed in Scotland.

Flavourly posted a 300% rise in direct-to-door sales during the initial national lockdown.

Brewers have welcomed Flavourly’s latest move; Aidy Fenwick of Black Isle Brewery said “Around 25% of our beers go to our own extremely busy bars in normal times, and a further 50% is for other on trade venues.

“Access to the Flavourly customer base has been incalculably beneficial to us since lockdown.

“Pack sales have always been a small part of our business.

“Our partnership with Flavourly increased our pack sales over lockdown and beyond took our pack sales to 65% of last year’s turnover, with no further marketing, staffing overheads or packaging costs.

“It has been invaluable to our success over the past six months”

Loch Lomond’s George Wotherspoon added: “Lockdown measures have seen us lose 40% of our regular trade from March till now with only half of that returning in the last few months before fresh lockdown measures were introduced last week.

“Having a well established route to market already in place for online sales has been a lifeline for us mitigating those losses and having Flavourly as our online fulfilment partner for this allows us to focus all our resources on brewing beer.”

Two products launched

In other beer news, Fallen Brewing in Kippen has released Switch, a hazy pale ale.

Founder Paul Fallen said: “Switch is the first beer we’ve brewed which draws influence from the New England style.

“We’d previously chosen to concentrate on west coast styles, but New England pales and India pale ales (IPAs) are such great, drinkable beers.

“It felt like the right time to make the switch and add a New England style to the range.

“Switch isn’t a full-on murk bomb, but it certainly draws on the key characteristics of being soft, juicy, and full of ripe fruit flavours.

“We’re delighted with the outcome so expect others to follow.”

Meanwhile Brewdog’s Ald IPA goes on sale tomorrow in supermarket chain Aldi.

The Ellon brewery designed a label for a spoof beer after Aldi released its “Anti-Establishment Beer”, the packaging for which resembles Brewdog’s Punk IPA.

Conversations that began on social media platform Twitter led to the beer – which is Brewdog’s first own-label beer for a supermarket – being put into production.

James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, said: “Ald IPA has been one of our favourite collaborations to date – it’s definitely one no one saw coming.

“From a mockup on Twitter, to being stocked at Aldi stores across the UK, the response has been incredible.

“Most importantly, both BrewDog and Aldi have agreed that, for every case sold, an extra tree will be planted in the BrewDog forest – a win-win for our customers, and the planet.”

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