There have been many recent gloom and doom articles about the state of beer and the financial health of breweries during the pandemic. Beer sales are reported down significantly and under-capitalized breweries are reported as being on the ropes. While all that may be true, we at the North American Brewers Association have a more optimistic view of beer’s future. Throughout American history brewers have demonstrated that although beer is not recession proof it is recession resistant. Take a look at beer production during and after each of the notable recessions in US history; financial downturns occurred in 1857, 1873, 1893, 1929, 1937, 1957, 1961, the 70’s Oil embargo, and 2009. Each time the beer industry has recovered. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has wounded many craft brewers, there is every reason for confidence that beer sales will make a predictable rebound. We may lose some breweries along the way, but others have found ways to survive; curbside pick-up, outdoor seating, increased package volume – and in a page out of prohibition – introduction of alternate products, that represent creative, interesting and flavorful choices. Sure, the difference now is the alternate products are alcohol-based, but the point is, they help keep the breweries afloat and we embrace it. The bottom line is that the North American Brewers Association believes the industry will weather this storm and come out ready to pick up where it left off, with ever increasing quality, variety and production.

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Copyright Gregg Smith – His latest book “American Beer History” is available on Amazon