Australia: Australia could run out of beer within weeks because of impending coronavirus lockdown - Carlton and United Breweries
Australia's biggest brewer says the country could run out of beer within weeks and thousands of jobs could be lost because of the impending coronavirus lockdown, the Daily Mail reported on March 22.
Carlton and United Breweries, whose major brewery is in Abbotsford, Melbourne, is pleading with the Victorian government to ensure the breweries are included in the 'essential services' that remain open.
All non-essential services will be shut down within the next 48 hours in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory to slow the spread of coronavirus after a spike in confirmed cases.
Premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews released separate statements assuring supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies and home delivery services would stay open during the 'comprehensive shutdown'.
But bars, restaurants and cafes will likely be forced to close in the coming days.
Carlton and United Breweries, based in Melbourne, claims that if it is shut down thousands of jobs will be lost and the country will be without beer for three months.
'Carlton & United Breweries, Australia's largest brewer, is greatly concerned about no beer being available in Australia for at least three months if beer is not given exempt status, and what this would mean for tens of thousands of jobs,' a spokesman told The Australian.
The company claims Australians 'need normalcy in their lives' and believe this includes accessing beer and liquor at bottleshops.
'You can't turn major breweries off and then quickly turn them back on. After re-opening there could be three months of no beer for pubs and bottleshops,' he said.
'The UK and other countries have kept retail and takeaway alcohol. We urge Australian Governments to do the same.'
The spokesman dubbed the closure of liquor supply stores as 'nonsensical' especially as it is believed supermarket chain stores will remain open.
Lion Australia Managing Director James Brindley told Daily Mail Australia it was also concerned if take-away liquor and supply chains were closed.
'Our breweries are 100 per cent able to operate under strict health and safety rules we have been doing this for the past 10 days to support the Government in the fight against COVID-19,' he said.
'You can't turn off and then quickly turn back on major breweries like Tooheys. After re-opening, there could be up to three months of no beer for pubs or bottle shops because it takes that long to grow the quantity of yeast needed.
'UK, EU and US have kept retail and takeaway liquor going, and the supply chains behind them.'
Panic buyers are rushing to bottle shops to stock up on alcohol amid fears stores across the country could be shut down.
It's understood bottle shops are considered 'essential services' and will not be closed - especially liquor stores attached to supermarkets - however it hasn't stopped anxious shoppers from flocking to stockpile booze.
One man said his local bottle shop had done three weeks worth of trading in two hours on Sunday, March 22.
Thousands of anxious Australians took to social media in search of clarification about whether bottle shops would stay open in Melbourne and Sydney.
'Urgent clarification required: are bottle shops considered an essential service?,' tweeted one man.
'Bottle shops are essential for keeping the peace,' added another.
'Brace for the onslaught of people that are getting in their car right now to nip down to Dan Murphy's to stock up,' added a third.
Others said their local bottle shops were flooded with customers after the announcement on Sunday afternoon.
A Coles spokesperson was unable to confirm whether Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, and First Choice Liquor stores would be closed down when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
It's understood home delivery alcohol services such as Jimmy Brings will still be able to operate as usual.
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