Coles’ liquor stores have welcomed 24 small independent brewers to the national supply network in a effort to support those impacted by the closure of bars and restaurants amid COVID-19 restrictions.
The supermarket giant partnered with Melbourne-based Hop Nation Brewing Co to provide a revenue stream to small producers around the country who have been forced to close or limit trade.
A 24-pack of ‘Communitinnies’, featuring some of the country’s best independent brewers such as Grifter, Wayward, Hemingways and Newstead brewery, will be rolled out to over 900 Coles Liquor stores nationally across Vintage Cellars, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market.
The move follows the creation of a 12-pack mixed case by Hop Nation in collaboration with a dozen local independent breweries, which hit Coles Liquor stores in Victoria recently.
“For most breweries, between 40-60 per cent of beer goes into kegs and out to bars and restaurants. For us, 60 per cent of our market disappeared overnight,” Hop Nation’s co-owner and general manager Sam Hambour said.
“This opportunity with Coles has allowed us to sell beer that otherwise didn’t have a home. It’s created an avenue for independent craft breweries to move beer that wouldn’t have reached the punters.”
Coles business category manager for Vintage Cellars Ed Scully said he’s hopeful the local sourcing program will make up some of the business lost as a result of recent bar and restaurant closures.
“We know that many of those producers impacted by current events are doing it particularly tough, so we are looking to support by offering our customers the chance to purchase their much-loved local wines, beer and spirits at their local Coles Liquor store,” he said.
Coles’ local sourcing program has started in Victoria and New South Wales stores with potential to roll out nationally in the coming weeks.
“We’ve received hundreds of applications since launching our new local sourcing initiative two weeks ago and will continue to work closely with producers in Victoria and New South Wales to support as many producers as quickly as possible,” Scully added.