Open letter to all beer drinkers.

I love beer, and you?

It is now time to support it.

The craft beer sector has been constantly growing for some years now. Indicators worlwide show that it has been gaining ground to big corporations and that their brews have found their place in store shelves, bars and in our palates. But this situation has not developed homogeneously and despite the figures of this sector, which show a steady evolution, this market continues to be a hard one, especially for small bussinesses that fight relentlessly to make ends meet every month, that meaning that there is a number of projects that have disappeared despite those efforts. This picture could serve as an example, it was taken four years ago and showcases five beers from five different breweries from South-East Spain. Sadly, three out of the five breweries in the photo have definitively ceased their commercial activity.

And in the midst of this situation a Coronavirus appeared, a huge disaster with unprecedent consequences that will affect not only the beer scene, but also the hospitality sector worldwide for months, years or forever, who knows. Hundreds, thousand of breweries, distributors, shops and pubs are in this very moment trying to figure out what is going to happen with them. The future is uncertain and many businesses will be seriously damaged or even sunk after a number of months with sales reduced to an insignificant portion, creditors demanding due instalments and disheartening  expectations about the "new normality" that is to come.

But, what is that new normality meaning for those small businesses? In the best cases it has meant doing Whatsapp and telephone sales, establishing online stores in record time, or delivering beer themselves; all this adding up to a total that represents a very small percentage of their usual sales. In the worst cases it means anxiety, watching TV relentlessly and listening to the news once and again mesmerized by the brutality of the figures, suffering angrily everytime one of the eggheads ruling our countries tries to anticipate when they will be able to return to their activity showing an evident lack of knowledge or empathy, and waiting arms crossed watching their stockpiled surplus product get stale with the feeling that everyday that goes by is not one day less, but one more.

The greatest drama of this crisis is that it is going to affect to all (or almost) social strata in many countries, and the craft beer community worlwide is today suffering this crisis brutally. Because craft beer is community. A community of local producers that create jobs that cannot be relocated to other countries, craftsmen who fight with their honest beers against big corporations that most of the times don't play fair, bar owners who believe in this product and present it pedagogically any time a costumer needs it, in general a community of people who have given their best to support this movement that has changed our perception of what is good beer.

Thanks to their hard work we have had acess to phenomenal brews, discovered a new world of pairings beyond wine and enjoyed festivals and beer events all over Europe. Not only that, they have created a community that welcomes to join in to anyone with a certain curiosity or interest about what they do, and this is something I have seen in Spain, UK and North-America, the craft beer gang is open like no other, always happy to chat about their raison d'être. They have trained a loyal legion of costumers through true stories, great beers and culinary harmonies, and above all, they have bond together a large group of people who were eager to share new flavours and experiences, a group of people that represents today the soul of craft beer itself.

The craft beer scene, at least the one I know, has been in the last years, or even decades, a role model of comradeship and generosity, and even though many companies will be forced to cease their activity no matter what, the rest of members of this community, even the mere aficionados, should do whatever we can to keep this this scene alive. Brewers nowadays are all doing a great effort to provide us with their brews now that we are confined. Online stores, telephone orders, breweries websites, Facebook pages, any means is good to do your bit and support the sector and this community, as if they were an endangered species, through these hard times.

So, the moment has come to protect craft beer, the beer that is worth saving, the beer that has given us so many happy moments, the beer that has provoked countless headaches to all those who work hard to put a pint in our hands. It doesn't matter where you live, there are many opportunities to support local businesses, look around, search the web, being pubs closed doesn't mean we have to be content with bad beer, the one made by great corporations which for sure will survive the aftermath of this sanitary crisis. So, if you can, support your craft beer scene, and if you can't because this crisis is hitting on you, of course, don't. But let's remember that we can choose where we spend our money, we can choose what projects or businesses we support, and that has a great impact in our community, in the local economy of our area. Figures in the news these days are devastating, we don't want to think what is behind the numbers, it is people and projects that are disappearing, sadly. Let's do what is in our hands to help this community through this pandemic. Now, more than ever , Drink Craft Beer!!!