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Monday Night’s survey doesn’t bode well for taproom openings

Coronavirus lockdowns across all 50 states have had America’s breweries scrambling to find new ways to serve their customers. With May just hours away, many states are cautiously reopening their economies, including Monday Night Brewing’s home of Atlanta, Georgia. The Peach state’s shelter-in-place order at the end of April and the next day brewery taprooms could open again with extra precautions.

Sounds like life could get back to normal in May right? Not so fast. Even with relaxed restrictions, it appears consumers might make a different choice.

Monday Night recently surveyed 740 people that had been to one of the brewery’s taprooms in the past 3 months. A series of questions about customer expectations surrounding taproom sanitation practices and changes to their expected visitation behavior were fielded and the results don’t look good for craft brewers.

Almost 40% of the respondents said they would wait until at least June before going back into a brewery taproom. 21.7% said July, while 13.8% said they would wait until late summer before going back to a taproom again.

Any vision of a normal Friday afternoon in a brewery taproom looks to be a further into the future than most hoped or thought. This could spell financial disaster for some operations hoping for “if you tap it, they will come” situation as we transition into summer.

Who do you listen to?

Monday Night’s survey revealed the consumer is more self-reliant than we assumed. Just because the Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says it’s ok to eat out, go bowling, get your haircut or grab a pint, doesn’t mean the consumers buy it. Respondents placed trust in the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization the highest determining factor as to when it’s safe to hit bars and breweries again. In just close second, when their own research says it’s safe. Interestingly, the state government’s advisement confidence level as guidance was dead last.

The biggest takeaway from this survey is that America’s breweries will probably see a drop in taproom attendance and along with it, in-house revenue through the summer.

Perhaps those numbers might trend upward if consumer confidence with efforts to slow the Covid-19 pandemic improves.

One thing is certain, there is no magic switch get back to the beer world we knew as 2020 started.