The pandemic has the world in flux…..Supermarkets are suffering….shopping is suffering…..farmers are suffering……and now we hear that breweries are staring to suffer….
Germany’s Werneck Brewery has survived world wars, economic crises, and decades of declining beer consumption. But after 400 years it has finally met a fatal challenge: the coronavirus. The brewery, which the AP reports traces its history to 1617 and has been owned by the same family since 1861, is closing for good, taking with it 15 full-time jobs and more part-time positions. Also gone is a chunk of local history and tradition in Werneck, a town of 10,000 in the brewery-rich state of Bavaria. German brewers fear its demise is the leading edge of more closures as the virus outbreak threatens the existence of the country’s many local producers of the national beverage—community institutions, often family owned for generations, whose buildings and affiliated taverns are regional landmarks in a country where the hometown brew is a sentimental favorite despite national competition.
Hardest hit are smaller breweries that like Werneck that depend on supplying kegs to local taverns and events such as local festivals. Retail sales are providing some support as people drink at home. Breweries are trying things like drive-through sales and even shipping beer and glasses to customers so they can join an online tasting. Family member and brewery manager Christine Lang said the decision to close came with “many tears.” The beer market was already hard fought with tough price competition, she said. Then came the virus, and the restaurants the brewery depended on were suddenly closed. The head of the German Brewers Association said that “many breweries will not survive this crisis, that is already becoming clear.” For Lang something irreplaceable has been lost. “My family and I will miss it very much. The brewery has been … part of every dinner table conversation all our lives. We will be missing part of our identity, and in a way the region will too.”
Even Oktoberfest is in jeopardy……
Since social distancing and Oktoberfest go together about as well as beer and milk, this year’s festival in Bavaria has become the latest COVID-19 casualty. This is the first time the beerfest has been cancelled since World War II and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter says it is a “bitter pill to swallow,” Bloomberg reports. Last year’s festival attracted around 6 million visitors. This year’s event had been scheduled to run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, but authorities said that with no coronavirus vaccine available, the public health risk was simply too high, the Guardian reports. This isn’t the first disease-related cancellation in Oktoberfest’s 210-year history: It was called off amid cholera outbreaks in 1854 and 1873. Other iconic events including the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain have also been called off, reports the AP.
Germany without beer will be ripe for revolution…..how long before the US has a similar problem…..what will the faithful do without their daily dose of alcohol?
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