Rabobank Liquid Assets Podcast

Will the coronavirus crisis crush craft beer?

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

'It's not a consumer demand problem; it's not a poorly run buisness problem - it's just if we shut down a segment of the economy, businesses are going to struggle.' Pic:getty/pavelkant
'It's not a consumer demand problem; it's not a poorly run buisness problem - it's just if we shut down a segment of the economy, businesses are going to struggle.' Pic:getty/pavelkant

Related tags: coronavirus, Craft beer, Us

A recent survey of US craft brewers suggests that 60% of US craft breweries will close if severe social distancing guidelines aren’t lifted by June. Rabobank talks to the Brewers Association's chief economist to take the pulse of the craft beer business, and discuss whether we'll recognize it after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

As chief economist for the Brewers Association, Dr Bart Watson was one of the people who produced that survey. And while the US craft beer industry grew 4% in 2019,​ 2020 is going to be very different, particularly given that a number of brewers have been focused on on-premise sales.

In this guest podcast, Rabobank asks:

1. How badly has social distancing impacted craft beer sales? How has other factors like SKU rationalization and shopping habits contributed to the struggles of the segment?  
2. How many craft breweries will close as a result of COVID-19? Hint: it may be more than 5000 in the US alone.
3. What are breweries doing to keep the doors open? Is it working?
4. What will the craft beer landscape look like after this pandemic? Will we see lots of M&A? Will the industry recover quickly or will it be unrecognizable?

This podcast features the Brewers Association's Chief Economist Bart Watson, Rabobank’s Senior Analysts Jim Watson and Analyst Bourcard Nesin.

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