Many independent breweries are facing permanent closure and massive job losses as a result of venues, retailers and non-essential services being forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Independent Brewers Association survey of 650 breweries revealed 93 per cent are operating at a loss and struggling to survive. 66 per cent have implemented a takeaway service and 47 per cent are doing home deliveries and online ordering to try and retain employees.
Five Barrel Brewing was among many breweries from across Australia who said it was finding it tough to navigate a way through the effects of COVID-19.
The IBA is calling on a reduction to the tax excise, by the Federal Government. And calling on Australians to support local businesses in a campaign called #KeepingLocalAlive.
Five Barrel Brewing owner Phil O'Shea said the brewery had to let go of staff. It plans to rehire post COVID-19, but for now he has had to call on his parents to help him stay afloat.
"The team was such a great unit before all of this. But, working for a small business can be hard at times. Being a community oriented brewery, we're about people coming in and having a chat. The locals are starting to know Mum and Dad as 'Phil's Mum and Dad'. So, the brewery has become more about family and making people feel at home." Mr O'Shea said.
But Independent Brewers Association (IBA) chairman Peter Philip said such creative measures and the Government's current wage subsidy package won't save independent brewers.
"Indie brewers are at a massive competitive disadvantage to the multinational mega-brewers because our beer is hand-crafted, which means we employ 15 times the number of employees per litre of beer," he said.
"These small businesses are a much-needed part of the Australian life, from providing jobs and community hubs, as well as being key economic drivers for rural and regional Australia".
The IBA is calling on a reduction to the tax excise, by the Federal Government.
"Aussie independent brewers and distillers are not asking for anything more than the support the wine industry has enjoyed for many years," Mr Phillip said.
"We are not asking for more than our fair share, just enough to put us on a level playing field".
"This support will be critical as it may be the only blood line for some of these very remote townships. If we don't do something now the losses could be devastating for the entire independent beer industry".
The IBA has submitted a proposal to the Federal Government asking for greater support to help save the industry.
They're also calling on Australians to support local businesses in a campaign called #KeepingLocalAlive.
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