Much less beer consumed since beginning of coronavirus crisis
The coronavirus crisis hit Dutch beer breweries hard. While beer sales in supermarkets and liquor stores did increase, it was not nearly enough to make up for closed bars and restaurants. In March, brewers' sales were down 36 percent, in April 32 percent, and in May 7 percent. Beer exports fell by 40 percent in May, NOS reports.
Even now that cafes and restaurants are partially open again, turnover is not yet back to its pre-coronavirus level, Lucy Wigboldus of the Dutch Brewers said to the broadcaster. "Unfortunately, we notice in practice that consumers often stay away and that measures need to be relaxed," she said.
Brewers reduced their production over the past months, but are slowly starting up again. Some breweries are even offering guided tours again, including the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, and the Hertog Jan Brewery in Arcen. Brand Brewery in Wijlre is restarting tours in July.
The guided tours are naturally limited by the restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Hertog Jan can currently only accommodate 144 visitors a day, instead of the usual 400 to 500, to ensure social distancing. "But we are very happy that we can receive guests again after three month," brewer Gerard van den Broek said to the broadcaster. "Normally we get almost 60,000 visitors here every year, lately it has been extremely quiet. And we really want to show what we do here: making specialty beers."