First the bad news.
As many as 70 million pints of British beer have been poured down the sink after UK pubs were forced to shut due to Covid-19.
Pubs and bars were amongst the first businesses to be shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and will not open until 4th July at the very earliest, according to the government’s recently published ‘roadmap’.
By this time, much of the beer left in storage in pubs will be spoiled.
Although the government has said that the duty paid on the wasted beer can be claimed back by brewers and pubs, it’s heartbreaking to see so much beer poured away rather than enjoyed in pubs across the UK.
Some of the beer that can’t be sold has been used for other purposes such as feed for anaerobic digesters to create organic fertiliser for farming and animal feed.
But the unusable beer and loss of sales due to the COVID-19 lockdown has had a devastating impact on the UK’s pubs. The British Beer & Pub Association believes many pubs and the brewers that supply them will struggle to survive closure.
“It’s a great shame that so much great British beer that should have been enjoyed in community pubs up and down the country has gone to waste,” said BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin. “People won’t have a chance to drink it as it will go off before pubs can re-open.
“Whilst it is good news that some of the beer can be re-used to help out other sectors affected by COVID-19, such as farming, it is still sad that people are unable to enjoy this beer.
“The need to destroy so much beer really shows how much our brewing and pub sectors have been affected by this crisis. We believe that pubs should only open when safe to do so, but without additional support now – particularly for those who won’t be able to re-open sooner – many more of our nation’s pubs and the brewers that supply them with beer will struggle to survive closure and beyond. The government needs to give our sector much more support”.
And now for the good news. You can still buy great British beer born and brewed in Manchester and support your favourite local brewer. Here’s how:
Manchester Union Brewery
Manchester’s first and only dedicated craft lager brewery using decoction is open for growler (big glass bottle) collections and refills.
For £20 you can get a two-litre growler filled with Manchester Union Lager – and they’ll deliver it to your home for an extra £2.
You can then get a refill for a tenner. Just leave your empty growler at the door and they’ll swap it for a new filled (and sanitised) bottle.
Manchester Union lost 100% of their income due to Covid-19 so they’ve launched a crowdfunder campaign called ‘Together we CAN’ to enable them to move production from keg to can. You ‘can’ support the venture here http://crowdfunder.co.uk/togetherweCAN
Cloudwater Brew Co.
Cloudwater, based on Manchester’s Piccadilly Trading Estate, has an online shop stocked with all its latest seasonal beers, delivered directly from its 3C coldstore for optimum freshness.
You can mix and match your own order or leave it up to them with their signature pack, which includes eight of their most popular brews.
The good folk here have also opened up their web shop to smaller breweries without their own online ordering facilities to help them through the crisis, meaning you can also find great beers from the likes of Runaway and loads more.
The Runaway Brewery
Runaway’s tap room is currently closed due to coronavirus so they’re running a pop-up bottle shop in its place and you can now buy their bottles online courtesy of Cloudwater Brew Co, with 90% of sales going straight to Runaway.
Or you can order mini-kegs for collection from Beer Nouveau’s Ardwick office (Fri & Sat) or from Runaway by prior arrangement during the week.
ShinDigger Brewing Co.
Ancoats-based brewery ShinDigger has an on-demand beer delivery service which can get your order to your door within three hours.
Available to any address inside the M60 from Wednesday to Sunday, the deliveries are zero contact with drivers placing the beer on the doorstep, ringing the bell and stepping back to hand over the beer.
Alphabet Brewing Company
Its North Western Street taproom may be closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, but you can still buy its beers from its webshop, including its popular Flat White breakfast stout, Charlie Don’t Surf session IPA and A to the K American Pale Ale.
You can also buy gift vouchers to spend at a later date.
Pomona Island Brew Co.
Pomona Island’s beers range span traditional and more progressive styles, with everything from big, hop-forward American style pales to barrel-aged saisons and stouts.
Order directly from the brewery’s web shop.
Track Brewing Co.
Track has a consistently excellent range of beers, from pale hoppy IPAs to deep, dark stouts.
Its web shop stocks classics including its Sonoma pale ale, alongside Listening Wind pale ale and All Together IPA. You can also stock up on soft drinks from Steep.
There’s even a Sonoma subscription service, delivering a case of 24 fresh cans to your door for £60 a month.
Delivery is free around Manchester and surrounding areas (all M postcodes and SK1-8), and delivery is also free across the UK if you’re spending more than £50.
The brewery behind Manchester’s Marble Arch pub has an online shop stocked with some of its most popular beers and limited edition releases.
The core range includes its Lagonda IPA, Marble Stout, American Pilsner and Metric (formerly known as Pint, until someone complained about the can size).
Its Hop Forward series is also available online, alongside a barrel-aged red ale and sour blonde ale, a hibiscus, raspberry and peppermint sour collaboration with Wander Beyond, and a selection of special annual releases.
It also sells merch including gift vouchers that can be used at the Marble Arch pub or sister bar 57 Thomas Street.
Seven Brothers Brewing Co.
Salford brewery Seven Brothers has an online shop stocking everything from cans and cases to glassware, gift vouchers and merch.
Its beers include everything from hoppy pale ales and juicy IPAs to collaborations with Kelloggs, using leftover cereal.
Visit sevenbro7hers.com to shop
Family-run brewery Joseph Holt’s heritage stretches all the way back to 1849.
Its bottled beer range includes a spectrum of styles, from golden ales like Maple Gold and Humdinger to the darker brews like Manchester Brown Ale and Sixex.
They’re available to buy online from Best of British Beer.
J W Lees
Based at Middleton’s Greengate brewery, sixth generation family brewer JW Lees is one of the oldest in the region.
Alongside its core range of ales (all vegan-friendly), it also brews barley wines once a year with the first harvested hops of the season.
They’re available to order online via Best of British Beer.
House of Hops
This micropub in Swinton have recently invested in a canning machine so they have the facility to pour their craft draft beer straight into cans before they’re sealed and delivered to your door the same day. HoH can deliver fresh tasting draft beer from the likes of adventurous ales from local breweries like Pomona Island, Marble Brewers, Runaway Brewery, and many more.
Lunya Catalonian Deli
And don’t forget you can buy cases of Spanish beers at fabulous prices from £34.95 (normally over £50), including Moritz, Alhambra Reserva, Mahou, Malaga Victoria from Lunya. Only available for click and collect.