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We’ll be crying in our beer if this comes to fruition.
Some breweries in South Carolina fear they’ll be forced to dump full kegs of beer that are going stale, as sales are suspended during the state’s shutdown of bars and restaurants in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
The dining rooms of food- and drink-serving establishments in the Palmetto State have been closed since March 17 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Fox Carolina reports, possibly pushing brewers into the sticky situation of sending it down the drain, a new report claims.
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According to the outlet, while brewers that sell packaged beer in cans and bottles are selling their inventory just fine.
“We’re looking at a lot of kegs in my distributor’s warehouse that are getting to that point where we have to look at options, and the top option is to dump it all,” Jamie Tenny, co-owner of COAST Brewing Company in North Charleston, told The Post and Courier in a Wednesday interview. “Actually, there are no [other] options.”
“Our beer usually doesn’t last longer than a month. … Sixty days is really the max,” Tenny explained.
According to the outlet, while brewers that sell packaged beer in cans and bottles are selling their inventory just fine in retailers like grocery stores, it’s the brewers that vend through restaurants and bars that are in trouble. For example, COAST moves 85 percent of its beer through its distributor, and roughly 70 percent of that stock is draft. Once the shutdown took effect, keg sales came to a screeching halt.
Looking ahead, Tenny is pushing for more flexible commercial options for South Carolina breweries to peddle through the ongoing outbreak.
“We need some initiatives that will help right now [like] home delivery and keg sales directly to individuals,” she said, two alternatives that are not allowed under states law, even during the pandemic.
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If the state’s bars and restaurants remain closed past three months, Columbia newspaper The State reports, the brewery’s predicament could become even direr.
As reported in a survey by the S.C. Brewers Guild of brewery owners in the state, 80 percent of the owners of the state’s 92 breweries and brew pubs may have to close if the COVID-19 outbreak keeps dining rooms closed for another 90 days. Likewise, 15 percent of the owners polled claimed they could only get by for between one and four weeks.
Moving forward, the Brewers Guild is petitioning the state Department of Revenue to allow home delivery of beer and direct shipments for the time being, “in order to balance the needs of commerce with the promotion of public health and social distancing needs,” and keep these breweries afloat, according to the outlet.
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Last year, the brewing industry in South Carolina supported about 5,000 jobs with an economic impact of $796 million, the letter said.