CommercialMay 19, 2020

How craft beer consumers are changing their buying habits amid COVID-19

As the pubs remain closed for the coming months, it appears that craft beer lovers are continuing to support the industry by turning their attention online. In fact, Masham-based business, Black Sheep Brewery’ have seen a 1500% increase in online sales from its online shop since pubs closed on 23rd March, giving hope to brewers nationwide that business can continue ‘behind closed doors’. 

Online craft beer sales skyrocket 

In response to this overwhelming surge of online business, Charlene Lyons, Chief Executive of Black Sheep Brewery, said:

“With the country staying at home as much as possible we’re seeing levels of online orders that we’ve never seen before, not even during the festive season which is typically the busiest time of year for our online shop. Our team has worked incredibly hard to ensure we can meet these orders working to the strict health guidance and social distancing rules.”

“We’re really pleased to offer a taste of Yorkshire to people across the country in this difficult time and we want to thank our loyal customers for supporting our business.” (1) 

Freedom Brewery have also continued to brew throughout the coronavirus pandemic due to online demand allowing them to continue to operate, despite at a reduced capacity. While there’s no question that the changes the nation is experiencing has had a massive impact on their day to day running, a spokesperson for the brewery said: 

“We’ve had a lot of messages of support from people and people now buying beer online, which is good.

“We’ve done free delivery to people in the local area and had people re-ordering, the support has been great in general.”

Supermarket alcohol sales jump 22%

In March, supermarkets saw a 22% increase in alcohol sales, with total sales of wine, beer and spirits topping 1.1bn. For microbrewers who have expanded into supermarkets, this has helped to balance out the losses incurred from the hospitality sector. 

In terms of online sales, it is predicted that the shift in shopping habits during the pandemic will have a permanent impact on how consumers buy alcohol. In fact, Data insights firm Kantar predict that up to 30% of shoppers who have purchased alcohol online during this period will remain long-term e-commerce customers. It is hoped that this will encourage many brewers to adapt to this type of buying and amend their business model accordingly in the future. 

While we are seeing hugely positive changes in consumer habits, there’s no question that COVID-19 has also wreaked havoc on the craft beer industry with the majority of many brewers’ sales coming from pubs, bars and restaurants. With the continued closure of hospitality outlets, this is a worrying time for many microbreweries and at The Insurance Centre, we aim to help you where we can. Whether you need to review your existing cover or simply talk through your questions or concerns, we’re here when you need us.