As 2020 continues to severely impact the beer industry, the Brewers Association – the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers – announced the return of Small Brewery Sunday on Nov. 29 for the second straight year. The group is encouraging beer lovers across the country to celebrate the Sunday after Thanksgiving by visiting local breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms that day and throughout the holiday season and beyond.
It might seem like your local brewery is just a spot for day drinking on a Saturday or grabbing a bite to eat and a limited release IPA after work on a Wednesday but it’s much more than that. These spots are critical to local communities and economies nationwide, as more than two-thirds of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery – and, in 2019, the craft brewing industry contributed $82.9 billion to the U.S. economy. Not only did they help boost the economy, these beer-producers also employed more than 580,000 Americans and provided charitable contributions worth over $80 million last year.
All of last year’s numbers have drastically changed since just last March, however. Some breweries have pivoted to adapt to continuous changes and government restrictions while others have been forced to close and either focus on a smaller business plan based around the idea of nomadic brewing or just call it quits. A recent survey by the Brewers Association found that sales were down about 22 percent in the third quarter of 2020, with two-thirds of at-the-brewery sales occurring outdoors during that time. So, with winter fast approaching, things could quickly revert back to the early struggles.
“This has been a devastating year for craft brewers, as they’ve faced shutdowns, decreased sales, layoffs, and an aluminum can shortage. Our most recent member survey revealed only 78 percent of small breweries are confident that they’ll still be open at this time next year,” said Bob Pease, BA President and CEO, in a recent statement. “As shoppers support local independent businesses, what better place than your local craft brewery? Six packs, gift cards, or merchandise all make great gifts and every little bit helps. It’s crucial for beer lovers to support their local brewery, taproom, or brewpub throughout these next few critical months and beyond.”
Beer lovers are encouraged to snap photos and share their Small Brewery Sunday experiences on social media using the hashtags #SmallBrewerySunday and #SeekTheSeal, in the hopes of keeping the movement going and getting others to help support their local drinking spots. It could ultimately make a serious difference.
“Nothing goes better with a holiday meal than independent craft beer,” said Ann Obenchain, BA Marketing Director, in a statement. “Whether you are able to safely visit a brewery, taproom, or brewpub, or opt for curbside pickup or at-home delivery, one of the best ways to support your local economy and brewery during the holiday season is by giving the gift of craft beer and serving craft beer at the dinner table.”