SIBA and Simply Hops create online initiative to help independent beer sector

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has joined forces with hope producer Simply Hops to create a not-for-profit website, in a bid to save thousands of small independent breweries, taprooms, bottle shops and retailers affected by coronavirus across the UK and Europe. 

BeerisHere.org has been created by the two organisations – and supported by Simpsons malt, Lallemand Yeast and Brewers Select – to help people get beer delivered to them from their local independent breweries, bottle shops and retailers.

The move comes after the government announced last week that all cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants must close as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

The aim of the site is to help show consumers where they can buy beer from and showcase the huge amount of varieties which are available to them during this time when they can’t visit a local pub or bar. 

Consumers will only have to enter their postcode to find out where they can easily get beer delivered to their homes. 

Separately, SimplyHops is also encouraging people to join a virtual social hangout organised by their local breweries at 5pm every Friday. The concept also aims to create a place where people can have a chat with other beer lovers, friends or work colleagues instead of going to pubs and bars, while “sharing the love” using the hashtag #BeerisHere and #5oClockClub.

John Willetts, director at Simply Hops, said: “The reality is that these independent breweries, taprooms, bottle shops and retailers will close if we do not support them in this difficult time. 

“Simply Hops along with SIBA and our other friends of craft beer, Simpsons Malt and Lallemand Yeast, just wanted to do what we could to help the fantastic independent brewers across the UK and Europe get through this tough time. 

“We felt that helping them change the shape of their businesses during this time when the bulk sales of beer to pubs, restaurants and taprooms have suddently stopped was a small thing to do. 

“We want people to be aware that there are a lot of ways to get great beer to your house and try lots of different beers and support the large number of small businesses people for people that need it right now.

“This is a free of charge, not for profit service that allows all true lovers of great beer to find all the independent breweries, retailers or taprooms that can deliver to their door, therefore supporting the small brewers and giving the consumers a real opportunity to connect with breweries they may never have been heard of before.

"We are looking for some beer patriotism, and for consumers to make a small extra effort to save the beautiful diversity of beer that now exists.

“We want to make sure the product everyone in our industry has dedicated their whole lives to is still here for people during and after this unusual and difficult time. 

“It’s what the craft beer scene is all about really. Working together to lift each other up when it’s needed.”

James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive, said:  "Independent beer businesses across Europe are under incredible pressure, with many struggling to keep afloat. 

“The BeerisHere initiative is something SIBA are very happy to support and which we believe will have a hugely positive effect on all involved. 

“If you run a beer business providing takeaway services, local delivery, or other low-contact sales options anywhere in Europe then we would strongly encourage you to get involved."

Kier McAllister Wilde, owner of Wilde Child Brewery in Leeds, said: ”This website will be a lifeline for our brewery. It is vitally important to keep our heads above water, but we really need a sustainable route to the local market to keep ticking over in these exceptional times. There will be major issues if the network of breweries and good beer goes away. Beer delivery drivers are just as important and essential as any other delivery drivers at this time.”

Andy Parker Director at Elusive Brewing Limited in Berkshire said: “It's great to see key brewing industry suppliers support independent pubs, bars and breweries during these challenging times by helping to spread the word about our services. These direct sales are the only thing which will keep us afloat.

 “We are currently dispensing via our taproom, so having one central place for locals to be able to find us, who haven’t discovered him before will be a big help to keep my wife and I going through the coming months.”

Scott Steffens, Head of Brewing at Dois Corvos Cervejeira in Portugal, said: “Our sales went off a cliff this week with all of our direct customers and distributors closing due to the coronavirus. 

“With the recent State of Emergency in place in Portugal, everyone is doing their part to stay isolated. It's great that the craft breweries are coming together to get beer to people through this global crisis and to provide these simple pleasures. 

“At least we can have that common sense of discovery and trying new things that craft beer always brings - even when we're stuck at home. Craft beer is a simple luxury that makes life better - wherever you are.”

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