The last two years have been very challenging for many businesses and industries, and the brewing and hospitality sectors are no exceptions. As a result of pub closures, 70% of our business was lost overnight and we have striven to find alternative ways to reach our customers direct. This includes opening our Drive Through at a time when the Brewery Shop was closed due to social distancing, live streaming “virtual” beer tastings from the brewhouse instead of conducting our usual Brewery Tours, as well as redeploying our draymen and staff to deliver direct to local homes rather than to local pubs.
Whilst we have been successful in these ventures, the volume this generates is only a fraction of our former on-trade business. We welcome the start of the recovery of the hospitality industry, but it is clear that it will take some long time yet to reach pre-Covid levels. We continue to brew but at a significantly lower volume, which does not offset the level of overheads that we continue to incur.
The rising cost of electricity and gas has been very much in the news recently. Our raw materials – malt, hops and water – are increasing steeply in price. Government grants have all but stopped. VAT and alcohol duty payments, which we were able to defer, are now due. The cost of living is also increasing for our staff.
This is an unprecedented set of circumstances. It is important to us not to compromise our beer quality, standards, or our belief in doing the right thing for the community and the environment. This means we have had to take the hard decision to increase the price of our beer, that we sell to pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, independent bottle shops and our consumers, who buy direct from us in the Brewery Shop, Drive Through, Online and Brewery Tap.
These increases will come into effect over the next few weeks. We have kept the increases to a minimum for overhead recovery as we appreciate it is just as hard for our consumers. But your support for your local brewery, which is family owned, an employer of local people and a true advocate of the local community, at this hard time is much appreciated.
Owner, Hogs Back Brewery