USA: Mass layoffs at craft breweries

Craft brewers all across the United States are currently planning or have already executed mass layoffs in response to business shutdowns caused by coronavirus COVID-19.

Stone Brewing Company laid off about 306 employees, or about 30% of its workforce of its restaurants, taprooms and distributions sales force. “We continue to employ a small crew to operate our Bistros and Tap Rooms with delivery and curb-side pickup,” said Stone CEO Dominic EngelsWe have also laid off a small group of Stone Distributing Co. on-premise (bar and restaurant) sales reps. Thankfully, we have retained more than half of this on-premise team by shifting them to off-premise (markets & grocery stores) to help with high demand in the grocery channel,” Engels reported. “It is our sincere hope that when we make it through this pandemic, and as the economy and demand warms back up, we’ll be able to look forward to welcoming folks back to their jobs.”

Founders Brewing Company, another large craft brewery which is part-owned by leading Spanish beer group Mahou San Miguel (, 30.8.2019) had to furlough 163 workers in Grand Rapids and Detroit and hopes to bring them back when the crises eases up, the company said. “While Founders intends that this layoff to be temporary and less than six months in length, Founders cannot predict the duration of this layoff because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Audrey Strieter, Human-Resources Director at Founders reported.

Deschutes Brewery from Bend, Oregon, had to lay off about 60 percent of its 490-person staff last month when bars across the country closed their doors. Gary Fish, President at Deschutes Brewery tried at first to keep the people and pay them but eventually it “became really clear to us there was just no way that we were going to be able to sustain that effort … And if that was the case, we were better off letting people know, allowing them to go file for unemployment, helping to facilitate that, and really working on hunkering down. The best thing we can do for our people is make sure our business is still here,” Fish said.

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