Lion and Carlton & United Breweries have called for breweries to remain open if the government plans on shutting down further industries during the COVID-19 crisis.
Both drinks companies say closing the breweries could lead to a three-month beer shortage in Australia, as it is difficult to restart plants after they are turned off.
Lion Australia managing director James Brindley told the Australian Financial Review: “You can’t turn off and then quickly turn back on major breweries like Tooheys.
“After re-opening, there could be up to three months of no beer for pubs or bottle shops because it takes that long to grow the quantity of yeast needed.”
He added: “Our breweries are 100% able to operate under strict health and safety rules.”
Lion announced last week that it had put in extra safeguards such as additional personal hygiene measures, changing work patterns and other social distancing measures for roles in its business including brewing, manufacturing, packaging, engineering and logistics.
In addition, the brewer has increased the scope and regularity of cleaning at its manufacturing sites and put a stop to all overseas and non-critical domestic travel.
CUB vice-president of corporate affairs Julian Sheezel told the AFR that the company was ”greatly concerned about no beer being available in Australia for at least three months if beer is not given exempt status, and what this would mean for tens of thousands of jobs” if they were shutting down.
“You can’t turn major breweries off and then quickly turn them back on. After re-opening there could be three months of no beer for pubs and bottle shops,” he said.
CUB MD Peter Filipovic added: “Our thoughts are with our valued partners at pubs, clubs and other hospitality venues. This is obviously a difficult time but we will get through this together.
“All our breweries remain fully operational – under strict Health and Safety Rules – with our outstanding brewery workers continuing to brew. This includes the Abbotsford Brewery in Melbourne, Yatala Brewery outside Brisbane and Hobart’s Cascade Brewery. It also includes all our craft breweries.
“As such, 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.”
Bottle shops allowed to remain open
During a press conference on Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that from midday on Monday, registered and licensed clubs, licensed premises in hotels and pubs, entertainment venues and cinemas, casinos and nightclubs will all shut, along with cinemas, gyms and indoor sporting venues.
However, bottle shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics and home delivery were all given the green light to continue operating.
Liquor retailers such as Dan Murphy’s and Liquorland have reported a spike in the sales of wines, beers and spirits in recent weeks.
Panic buying was reported in bottle shops on Sunday as nervous customers stocked up.
As news of impending drastic shutdowns began to spread, there was confusion as to whether liquor stores would be deemed “essential” or be shutting down.
New Zealand moves to total lockdown
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the country is preparing to go into complete self isolation.
The country will move to a higher alert level – a three out of four – for the next 48 hours before the highest level of four is deployed, essentially shutting down the country.
All non-essential businesses are to close, schools will be closed from tomorrow, and domestic travel restrictions will be in place.
This will include takeaway services closing their operations.
Public transport will also begin to transition over the next 48 hours will only be available for those working in essential services, for medical reasons, and to move essential goods – including ferry services between the North and South Island.
The level four restrictions will be in place for at least four weeks.
Supermarkets, pharmacies and essential medical services will stay open.
It’s been announced that the government will have zero tolerance for people ignoring these restrictions, and police will be used to enforce them if required.
Ardern said: “Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ahead of it.
“On Saturday I announced a COVID-19 alert level system and placed New Zealand at Alert Level 2. I also said we should all be prepared to move quickly. Now is the time to put our plans into action.
“We are fortunate to still be some way behind the majority of overseas countries in terms of cases, but the trajectory is clear. Act now, or risk the virus taking hold as it has elsewhere.”00Share the content