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Craft beer sales surge in spite of pandemic

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic badly affecting many businesses across various sectors, the craft beer industry is one that has managed to not just survive, but thrive.

The 2020 Australian Craft Beer Survey, released by craft beer retailer Beer Cartel, reveals that spending on beer increased as people began stocking up on commodities at home during the Covid-19 peak in April and May. The majority of the sales were made online.

The research highlights the strong support consumers have for independent craft breweries. Respondents indicated that they were purchasing less Australian and international mainstream beer, while local craft beer purchases increased. This coincides with increased awareness of the Independent Seal (60 per cent awareness) and 93 per cent of respondents agreeing that “Australian breweries need support more than ever”.

Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel said that the growth of craft beer sales online was no real surprise, citing his own business’s experience since the pandemic hit.

“We’ve seen first-hand this switch to online and know the pressure it has put on our own business, with two to three years growth compressed into just one,” Kelsey said. “We’ve had to double our staff and re-engineer our processes to keep up with the massive increase in demand. And while that is just our business, I’m sure it is being reflected across the whole industry.”

Steve Blick, Ecommerce Head for Stone & Wood, said that their brewery had experienced a similar surge.

“Shortly after the country went into lockdown it felt like online sales of beer was the new toilet paper and we experienced a bit of a spike in people purchasing directly from our online store,” Blik said. “A lot of these people were buying beer online for the first time, so we definitely felt the pressure to try and provide a really good experience for them.”

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