Those who work in hospitality are used to be being awake into the small hours, but now many are simply attempting to predict what the industry will look like post pandemic.
Ralph Bungard, of Christchurch-based Three Boys Brewery, said the only thing known for certain is that coronavirus would change the industry.
“That change will be painful, and some businesses will not survive, but one certainty is that others will make it through and of those, some will thrive,” he said.
In a bid to help others thrive, Bungard and Muz Moeller, of Ghost Brewing, have teamed up and launched the New Zealand Beer Exchange last month.
It is a sales platform pitched as a “one-stop shop” to buy and sell local craft beer, direct from brewer to bar.
“The idea was to speed up cash flow for our producers,” Moeller said.
“It is an online beer sales tool. It is a new and complete way of connecting brewers and bars with advertising, sales, logistics, all in one place.”
It offers a brewer to bar point-to-point logistics service from anywhere in New Zealand.
With COVID-19 hitting the economy hard and with the “current lack of cash flow”, Bungard said they felt it was time to launch the site as the lockdown levels change.
“It’s time to get ready for the new world,” Moeller said. “It’s not going to be the same when the lockdown eventually eases and bars reopen, it’s a good opportunity to improve things. We are spending level three getting people signed up and prepared.”
Bars have to pay upfront and he said this would help producers with cash flow at a crucial time.
“It is not going to take over the world but we think it’s going to help a lot of people in the industry.”
It was often “a struggle” for small craft brewers to get their products in front of hospitality outlets outside their region.
“I’ve been running Ghost Brewery for six years which means I am still a newbie,” Mueller said. “It will certainly help brewers find new outlets.”
The pair had spent a year developing the site.
“We have partnered with PBT Transport who have built the booking system to make it all work. Now a Wellington brewery can order a keg of beer from Christchurch and there’s real-time info.”
Moeller said the current invoicing model “needed to change.”
“People are going to need some cash flow before we get back into things and this is one way to do that because bars pay upfront,” he said.
“The way it stands now is the producer is the one left holding the baby if a business goes under.”
Moeller said he was hopeful it would lead to future employment opportunities.
“People are going to be looking for work and hopefully this system will provide some in the future, I’m excited about the opportunity to potentially grow some jobs from this.”