The Covid-19 crisis led to a nationwide lockdown in the UK, closing entertainment channels like pubs and bars. Breweries have had to devise innovative methods to adapt to this change in consumer behaviour and maintain business where possible. Some breweries are modifying their operations and now include delivery and ‘drive-thru’ services, deploying mini-kegs, beer boxes, and reusable plastic bottles. London-based business, Forest Road Brewing Co, has gone one step further and converted a van into a mobile bar. This enables the pouring of three of its beers, Posh lager (4.1% ABV), Work IPA (5.4% ABV) and Easy Pale Ale (3.8% ABV).

The van is capable of carrying the equivalent of 150 pints, as well as cases of canned and bottled beer. The business delivers within a three-mile radius around the borough of Hackney but has stated ambitions to expand its coverage. This is a prime example of how small and medium scale businesses are adapting to the ‘new normal’ of the post-Covid-19 world, anticipating changes of irreversible consumer behaviour.

Launched in 2015, Forest Road Brewing Co has proven its dynamism as an agile business able to respond quickly to consumer demand. In addition to its new home delivery service, the brand newly rebranded a Stay Home lager whereby £1 from the sale of every bottle goes directly to supporting the NHS. Acts of social responsibility are key as consumers seek brand leadership during these unprecedented times. According to Week 7 of the GlobalData 2020 Coronavirus (Covid-19) Consumer Survey results, 43% of UK consumers desire news about initiatives adopted by brands during the pandemic period. This is rated as the ‘most important’ piece of information consumers would like to hear from brands.

With Forest Road Brewing now operating a mobile delivery service of freshly poured beer, other businesses are also likely to adopt similar methods to reach out to consumers at home. It remains to be seen how flexible regulations will become to permit all pubs and breweries to behave like off-licences. However, one thing is certain: social distancing will continue even after the pandemic starts to follow a downward curve, so businesses will continue to adapt around it.

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