Come all brother tradesmen that travel along
O pray, come and tell me where the trade is all gone
Long time have I travelled, and I cannot find none
And sing all the hard times of old England
In old England, very hard timesTim Hart / Robert Johnson / Rick Kemp / Peter Knight / Nigel Pegrum / Maddy Prior
And so the song goes. Our businesses have it hard, not least the hospitality trade. Most pubs are closed (the only ones remaining open do so because they are trading as off licences). Supporting England’s brewers is something we can look to do. Nobody yet knows how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last. Enforced lockdown could well be in place for a while longer. Especially while a significant minority of people insist on going out unnecessarily and ignore social distancing (I’m looking at you London!).
A group of businesses we can support from home, especially as their main buyers – pub companies and freehouse pubs – are out of action for the foreseeable future, are breweries. Supporting England’s brewers is made easier thanks to the quick thinking of brewers in opening online shops for bottled and canned beer delivery. Of course, some already ran such a service, but many more have altered their business model and adapted to the COVID-19 crisis in a way that should see trade continue to flow in these difficult times. This does depend on a couple of things though. The quality of their produce (ie is their beer any good!) and their ability to communicate – using methods available – social media and digital advertising.
Some brewers were built for this
No, they weren’t specifically built to deal with a pandemic. They were built with the online market in mind. Modern brewers have been embracing the future by both expanding the beer styles they produce and looking to new markets. The more traditional brewer will need to, in light of the current situation and the need to survive, step up and make moves to keep up with the modern brewers that make full use of technology to promote and sell their produce.
The brewing industry will look a little different when this is all over. Unfortunately, some breweries, along with some pubs, may not survive this. We’ve been in a good position in England and the UK as a whole of recent years. The explosion of breweries, particularly micro and nano breweries is testament to this. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for pubs. Where we can only currently support pubs that are trading in a different way to usual, supporting England’s brewers is a little easier thanks to their online presence.
Supporting England’s brewers – home delivery
There are, of course, too many breweries to list here – so I’ve gone for some of the more outstanding available (that translates as ‘these are my favourites’..)
- Siren Craft Brew – formed in 2013 in Finchampstead, Siren are brewers of the award winning Broken Dream breakfast stout as well as the much sought after barista range of beers.
- Cloudwater Brew Co – Manchester based brewers of very good beer. Drinkers may remember the DIPA range of a couple of years ago and, in particular, DIPA V3. Real artisans and one of the best brewers in the country at the moment.
- Verdant Brewing Co – Another brewer at the top of the pack. Verdant excel in producing juicy hop bombs of beers from their Falmouth home. So sought after, their beers sell out quickly, though you might find their core range more frequently. At the time of writing, Verdant are having a little shutdown – but keep an eye on their shop.
- Northern Monk – Leeds based brewers of excellent beer. Check out the one off Patrons Project beers, if you can find any.
- Weird Beard Brew Co – Born in London in 2013, Weird Beard produce some tasty beers – quite often far away from traditional bitters but, if you’re unsure about some of the more interesting flavours added to beer, you’ll probably have a pleasant surprise – check out the Salty Liquorice Tattoo, an imperial strength stout – a beautiful sipper.
- Wylam – Delicious beer produced in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Wylam are currently offering a delivery discount to NHS staff on production of NHS ID number.
So, next time you want to buy a beer in while we wait for the pubs to open again, consider going straight to the brewery rather than the supermarket.
Have you been supporting England’s brewers by ordering for home delivery? Tell me where you’ve ordered from. As a lover of real ale and the new wave of craft beers, I’m always looking for new beer to try.