How Black Hops is Operating During The COVID-19 Crisis

Dan Brewing business

The COVID-19 pandemic means that regular life as we know it won’t be the same for some time. New phrases such as ‘social distancing’ are now part of everyday lingo. Many people’s livelihoods and businesses have been put on hold. And everyday activities we once took for granted, like going to your favourite bar for a beer, are no longer an option for the time being. These are necessary responses to unprecedented circumstances, as the health of fellow human beings rightly becomes the number one priority of society.

Here at Black Hops things are evolving on a daily basis. The shell shock of grappling with what COVID-19 meant for our on-premises customers and our industry as a whole, left us daunted and reeling. Then preservation mode kicked in and myself, Eddie and Govs soon sat down and started strategizing as to how, exactly, we could keep our breweries operational, our business healthy and our staff in jobs.

We’re still delivering beer to the people, just in new and creative ways, under a range of new health and hygiene restrictions. So while you currently can’t drink Black Hops in our Taprooms or at your favourite local venue, our beer is still available. This is how you can currently get Black Hops beers:

  • Many of our on-premises venues still have stocks of Black Hops cans that they can now sell via their new takeaway services. We would encourage you to support these venues who have suffered a potentially fatal and unexpected blow by recent events. We want all of these venues to get through this crisis and be back and up and running as normal when it’s all done.
  • Our bottle shop customers are still trading and these include independents like Cellarbrations, Cellars, Star Liquor, Thirsty Camel etc, major bottle shops like Dan Murphy’s, BWS and First Choice which are still open as of today. See the beer finder for stockists. Some are doing local delivery as well.
  • We have launched a new Gold Coast and Brisbane fresh beer home delivery service called Black Hops Supply Drop. It operates between 1pm and 7pm Wednesday to Sunday and is available via the Supply Drop page https://blackhops.com.au/supplydrop and will soon be available on the Android and iPhone app stores.
  • Our Taprooms are still open for takeaways and we have modified our hours so we are trading 7 days a week from 12 – 6pm (card payments only).
  • We now have pickup options via our online store (Gold Coast customers: 7 day service: 12pm – 6pm). You can choose which brewery you want to pick up from, order the beer and come in and grab it.
  • Our online store continues to operate with delivery Australia wide.

2 weeks ago we stopped kegging beer and ramped up our production of limited releases. This means we have more beer than usual for our limited releases, and we have many new exciting batches coming through. These will be available via us directly and in some cases our online store, supply drop service and some on prem customers doing takeaways. If you have any ideas about beers for us to brew, we’ve got a discussion going in our Black Hops Ambassador group on Facebook here. Feel free to make a suggestion.

We have not been able to provide shifts to many of our casual employees and are doing our best to try to support them. If you know of any awesome companies with extra shifts for casuals please let me know, our team is amazing and it would be great to get them some extra shifts (text me 0434 152 966).

We have so far been able to keep all of our full time staff employed by building the new services above and re-deploying them in roles in the taproom and in delivery. Our sales reps are still here and working and available to our customers.

The future is very uncertain but our aim is to get through this with our business intact, our customers supported and our team employed.

We also want to keep you, the Black Hops community, engaged with what we’re doing while so many are holed up at home and feeling isolated. So on Friday, 27 March we held a special event called Bright Friday, which coincided with the limited release of a new Recon Series beer, Sapro IPA. That evening we facilitated a live video call, which anyone could connect to via the Zoom platform, with a tasting of the new beer from Govs and a Q&A session with Eddie, Govs and myself.

We got a great response, the beer sold out in record time and we had over 50 people on the live call. So while we can’t have monthly Taproom events, tap takeovers or brewery tours for the time being, we’re still looking at ways we can maintain a sense of sharing and community with our customers while we need to physically distance.

Who would have thought at the start of the year that 2020 would be shaping up quite like this? But here we are and as responsible, compassionate human beings as well as beer lovers, we rally, we adapt and we do what we need to do to get through this together. Now more than ever, we thank you all for your support, we’re still here and looking forward to continuing to make great beer and share it in new ways with our customers.

Dan, Eddie, Govs and the Black Hops Crew.