Wimbledon Brewery has announced that, by the end of lockdown, it had managed to achieve around 80% of its sales before the coronavirus crisis started by launching a home delivery service.
It made more than 3,000 home deliveries since the first week in April, and increased sales to supermarkets and bottle shops. The brewery also saw other new routes to market open, with cafés and off-licences asking it to install draft beer dispensers for take-away pints.
In addition to this, it also provided some of its beer that was meant for pubs to Trenchmore Wagyu Beef Farm, in Sussex, for its cattle, and soon expects to be launching its own brand of Wimbledon Wagyu burgers. Wagyu cattle are massaged and fed a diet that includes beer, which helps produce meat that is extremely tender, finely marbled, and full flavoured.
Wimbledon Brewery founder, Mark Gordon, said: “Before the crisis started, bottles and cans made up around 10% of our turnover, with 90% coming from pubs, bars and hotels.
“With the lockdown, we had to adapt our business plan quickly, and we concentrated on local home deliveries and increased sales to supermarkets and bottle shops. This went from a very low base to the equivalent of 80% of our pre-lockdown turnover.
“Soon after the lockdown was announced, we initially closed the brewery, but quickly took the decision to re-open because beer can be very good for morale, and breweries have a long tradition of keeping going through adversity.
“We came up with a system which meant that no two people needed to be in the brewery at any one time. This wouldn’t work for actual brewing as this is a minimum two-person job, but we are lucky in that our Master Brewer, Derek Prentice, and his son, Michael, who is also part of our team, live in the same household.
“Finally, the support from the local community has been quite overwhelming, and the buying local theme is definitely here to stay.”