The last three years have been very challenging for many businesses and industries, and the brewing and hospitality sectors are no exceptions.
As a result of Covid and pub closures, 70% of our business was lost overnight and although the hospitality industry is starting to recover, it will be some long time yet before it reaches pre-Covid levels. Whilst we continue to brew, it is at a significantly lower volume, which does not offset our overheads.
We are now faced with a new and unprecedented set of circumstances.
The rising cost of energy has been widely reported and is affecting consumers and businesses alike. We continue to explore how to make our brewing more sustainable and to reduce our dependence on electricity and gas, but these are long-term solutions.
Our raw materials – malt, hops and water – are increasing steeply in price. Although we are in the fortunate position of harvesting our own hops, the yield from our hop garden this year was much lower than hoped, due to the long, hot, dry summer.
The price of CO2, used in the carbonation of our kegged products – Hogstar lager, Hog IPA and Hazy Hog cider – has increased significantly, as have glass prices for our bottled beer range.
Fuel prices remain high, which impacts our logistics operation. We continue to pay back deferred VAT and alcohol duty payments. The cost of living is also increasing for our staff.
The wider economic forecast, political instability and the situation in Ukraine are all contributing to uncertainty in the coming months.
We do not underestimate the challenges ahead and appreciate the Cost of Living pressures that are affecting us all. It is important for us not to compromise on 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, Online Store and Brewery Tap.
These increases will come into effect across the business over the next few weeks, starting with the Brewery Shop and Online Store from the beginning of November. We have kept the increases to a minimum for overhead recovery as we appreciate it is just as hard for our consumers. Your continued 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