The Brewers Association (BA), the national trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, announced today to lay off 17% of its staff, adding up with an earlier cut in April to slightly more than one third of its total workforce. Bob Pease, President and CEO of BA blamed in a today’s statement “the current global health pandemic and economic crisis” for the strict measures.
“Despite our best efforts to weather the impacts of these events through cost-savings measures already implemented, the recent shift of the festival portion of the Great American Beer Festival from the annual in-person gathering in Denver to an online experience, combined with the cancellation of all our 2020 events and the subsequent loss of nearly 70% of our annual revenue, has forced us to make the difficult decision to make further reductions to our staff,” Pease explained.
In March, the BA announced to cancel “America’s Largest Craft Brewing Industry Gathering”, The Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and all ancillary events like the BrewExpo America and the World Beer Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic (inside.beer, 13.3.2020). Two months later for the first time in nearly 40-years the BA also had to cancel the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the largest beer festival in the U.S. as an in-person event. Instead the festival, originally scheduled for September 24-26 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, was announced to take place as “an immersive online experience October 16-17.” (inside.beer, 26.5.2020)
In total, 24 employees have been affected to date by the lay-offs, including long-time employees like Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association, and Kathryn Porter Drapeau, event association director, who had been with the organization for 20 or 19 years respectively.
“The Brewers Association’s fortune mirrors the fortunes of the American craft beer community. No one knows how long the pandemic and current economic crisis will last but it’s clear that it will leave the craft brewing community forever changed,” Pease concluded his statement.