Clinking cold pints on a hot day with friends is a familiar sound of summer. But 2020 has a different summer in store for craft breweries. In Minneapolis, CBS Minnesota reports the Surly Beer Hall will “close indefinitely in November.” This particular beer hall paved the way for other Minnesota craft breweries to serve beer on site. As an industry leader and icon of the city, the loss stings for locals. With revenue down 82%, Surly simply couldn’t make it through the slow winter months, explained owner Omar Ansari. The announcement foreshadows a potentially ominous trend among craft breweries in the coming months.

 

On this Business Casual snippet, hosts Daniel Litwin and Tyler Kern consider the craft brewery business model. Will people return to their favorite “public living room,” to have a beer with friends and keep these businesses alive? Kern attests that hospitality isn’t going anywhere and that experience of the local brewpub is too well-loved to disappear. But as the weather cools and outdoor seating becomes difficult, will craft breweries manage to survive the winter?

KEY POINTS:

  1. Production breweries are doing well, but taprooms and brewpubs are struggling.
  2. The Brewers Association estimates a 10 to 20 percent decline in sales for small and independently owned craft breweries in 2020.
  3. What is the fate of smaller breweries that have difficulty creating social distance in their beer halls?

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