Cloudwater Brew Co’s Unit 9 taproom

Manchester’s Cloudwater Brew Co has urged independent beer businesses to work together to find solutions to the problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cloudwater had already taken the decision to move to take-outs only at its Manchester city centre taproom, Unit 9, and Bermondsey location at 73 Enid Street before the government announced new social distancing recommendations on Monday.

But, emphasising the spirit of collaboration that is one of the independent beer trade’s core values, Cloudwater has offered neighbouring breweries the opportunity to sell cans and bottles via their taprooms and online shop, and is working on further collective action that might help them to survive a potentially catastrophic period for the wider hospitality industry.

As part of this initiative, beer from Mobberley Brewhouse, Pomona Island, Runaway Brewery, Squawk and Track, as well as Belfast’s Boundary Brewing Cooperative, has been available via Cloudwater’s online store and tap rooms from Thursday (March 19).

‘We want to offer a reward to our hard-working NHS staff’

Cloudwater founder, Paul Jones, said: “We felt it was important to do whatever we could to support fellow breweries in Manchester at this time of crisis, as we’re acutely aware of our connections to other businesses, both within the beer industry and the wider economy.”

Cloudwater will temporarily shift its focus almost entirely onto canned and bottled products, as the business attempts to adapt to the loss of the vast majority of its wholesale business. This also means it may soon look to change pricing structure to make the beer even more affordable for consumers.

For starters, the brewery is offering a 25% discount to all NHS staff, as a way of thanking them for their efforts in keeping the public safe. NHS workers can simply provide proof of employment when making a purchase at Unit 9 or 73 Enid Street in order to benefit from the discount. Or they can register a new account on the Cloudwater online store using their NHS email address to receive access to discount codes and regular updates on offers.

Paul added: “As we shift from a wholesale-focused business model to one that relies more heavily on direct sales to consumers, this might mean we are able to take a closer look at our pricing and make some changes. But this depends on how successfully we are able to shift our business model.

“But we did at least want to offer a reward to our hard-working NHS staff, who will be so vital over the coming months. We’re going to have to lean on them very heavily as we look to navigate this unprecedented situation, so this is a small gesture of our gratitude for their passion and effort.”

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