Australia’s biggest brewers Lion, Carlton & United Breweries and Coopers Brewery will remain fully operational, with a focus on ensuring supply to consumers and supporting partner venues, following federal and state government lockdowns around the country.
With the rapid changing environment caused by Covid-19, the Australian Government announced on Monday (23 March) a nationwide shutdown of non-essential public venues, including pubs and clubs.
In response to the shutdowns, both Lion and CUB have expressed their concern that breweries “cannot turn off and then quickly turn on again”.
CUB CEO Peter Flipovic said: “If breweries are included in a widespread shutdown, we may not be able to get beer to the market for some months after re-opening”.
“All our breweries remain fully operational – under strict health and safety rules – with our outstanding brewery workers continuing to brew.”
“We are currently brewing enough beer to ensure we supply our retail customers and ensure Australians are still able to enjoy a beer in their home in these unprecedented times.”
Lion Australia managing director James Brindley said the company was also committed to the continuity of supply to consumers through retail, as well as supporting venue partners who are affected by closures.
“We will be working closely with our retail customers as the situation evolves to ensure the hundreds of thousands of beer-drinkers around Australia are informed as to their responsibilities when it comes to social distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Brindley.
“At Lion, we are doing everything we can to work quickly and provide our valued on-premise customers with the support they need right now.”
“Lion will take back unused kegs at no cost or charge and offer customers a credit. For safety reasons these kegs must be full and capped. It may take some time for us to come to your venue to collect these kegs, so we ask for your patience as we contact all impacted customers over the coming days and weeks to make the necessary arrangements.”
A spokesperson from Adelaide-based brewer Coopers told Food & Drink Business: “It is business as usual in our operations for now but we will be concentrating more on packaged beer rather than kegs.”
All three brewers ranked in the Australia’s Top 100 Food & Drink Companies 2019 report, with Lion placing #4, CUB at #8, and Coopers Brewery at #83.