Last month I made reference to a football manager and I’m going to do the same again this month, but for a slightly different reason.
In early October trade was still quite buoyant and many publicans were relieved to have had a reasonable summer, having benefited from ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ and a vibrant takeaway trade. Then the virus started to take grip again and the writing seemed to be on the wall for another lockdown. What wasn’t so easy to forecast was that for some strange reason the government would decide that pubs could not do takeaway beer or alcohol. Fortunately, this decision was reconsidered and reversed, giving pubs a way of keeping their bar sales ticking over.
It will not stop many pubs facing the unknown, and breweries having to destroy beer, furlough staff and decommission brew houses. We will be doing whatever we can to support our pubs, our people and our customers.
What lessons have we learnt from the last lockdown? Probably the most valuable one is that we know the government gives very little notice of the steps it will be taking and the reversal of its decisions. Before the last lockdown, we thought the industry had been successful in getting the government to understand that between 4 and 6 weeks’ notice would be needed of pubs reopening, so that beer could be brewed and stocked up, ready to deliver. However, in the event, we were given much shorter notice, resulting in us being out of stock of many of our beers whilst we recommissioned the brewery, revitalised our yeast, brewed, fermented and conditioned. This time we are going to continue to brew during the lockdown, which will keep everything going, particularly our unique strain of yeast, so that we will be ready to go again at very short notice. But this will mean much of the beer brewed during lockdown will need to be destroyed. What a waste and what an expense.
I think we all knew another lockdown was coming; I’m a simple brewer not a viral scientist. If brains as big as planets say we need to lockdown to get the virus under control then I’m with them. All we can do is look after our people as best we can; staff, tenants and customers.
The Brewery is eerily quiet once more, with most staff on furlough, no brewing and no transport, but we are stepping up our on-line shop efforts and off trade. We are doing our best to look after our tenants, with further rent concessions in place.
But we’re upbeat, we’re still here and we’ll continue to plan for the future.
So what was the reference to football managers I was referring to? Well, how many times have you heard a manager say (cliché) after a poor result; “WE’LL RE-GROUP AND WE’LL GO AGAIN”?
That’s what we’ll do, that’s what our staff will do and our tenants and customers will do, WE’LL GO AGAIN, just as soon as pubs reopen, be it before Christmas hopefully, be it after, but when it does happen we’ll be ready.
All the best,