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Breweries introduce beer drive-throughs and home delivery amid coronavirus threat

By James Pugh | Stafford | Dining out | Published:

Breweries from across the region have come up with new initiatives, such as home delivery service and beer drive-throughs to help stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Director Alison Parr at Stonehouse Brewery and Henstone Distillery

Pubs, bars and restaurants are among the businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, with independent breweries particularly suffering.

Following Government advice on Monday, that advised people to stay away from pubs, clubs and restaurants, trade orders at the breweries have dropped off a cliff - with single-figure barrel sales and in some cases zero.

Breweries have been quick to react, launching beer drive-throughs and home delivery services to help them survive.

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Stonehouse Brewery, based near Oswestry, is offering a home delivery service within a 10-mile radius of both Stonehouse and Henstone products at a minimum order of £20.

It is also offering to take-out orders direct to customer's cars so they don’t need to enter the premises.

Director Alison Parr said: "Overnight the trade in the pub went down massively following the Prime Minister's announcement to stay away from pubs, which obviously had an impact on cash flow.

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"We are still open for business until we are told we have to close. We have got staff to pay and insurance to consider.

"We are offering a home delivery service within a 10-mile radius where customers can pay over the phone.

"Customers can also collect from the brewery where they can pay contactless and we will drop their order in the car to avoid contact.

"As a distillery we are also looking at producing a hand sanitiser gel if we can get round the logistics and legal side of it."

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The Government has unveiled a package of financial measures in a bid to shore up the economy against the coronavirus impact.

Director Alison Parr at Stonehouse Brewery and Henstone Distillery

It includes £330 billion in loans, £20 billion in other aid, a business rates holiday, and grants for retailers and pubs.

"I don't think the Government has gone far enough. We can't replace the food and drinks which won't be purchased over the coming months.

"The industry will need more help otherwise there will be huge job losses," Alison added.

Salopian Brewery, based near Shrewsbury, is also starting a home delivery service on a 10-mile radius of the brewery.

A spokeswoman said: "Obviously we are making a loss from the pubs that are closing, so we have introduced this home delivery service.

"We've had quite a few pubs cancel orders because they have closed or think they might close.

"We have had quite a few private customers call about the home delivery service. Many of those are bulk buying. It's good for people who can't get to us outside their working hours, people who are in quarantine and for the elderly."

Vicki Slater, of Stafford-based Slater's Ales, said: "We are 85 per cent down in sales overnight. It is a scary time.

"We are doing home delivery and are doing what we can to stay open. We are saying a radius of 25 to 30 miles. We will do national but it will mean relying on an overnight delivery service.

"Hopefully things will improve in three months and the economy can get back to where it was before this."

Green Duck Brewery, based in Stourbridge, has introduced a takeaway and delivery service.

It has collected 2,000 take-out containers and is offering free delivery of beer within a 10-mile radius of the brewery.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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