An employee of the Dioxyde de Gambettes, cooperative company with a social purpose, delivers Belgian Beer from the Enstoemelings factory, as the Belgian brewer tries to keep business up by offering a home delivery service for his customers, in Brussel, Belgium, April 14, 2020. Reuters/ Johanna Geron
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – With beer sales hit by the coronavirus lockdown, small Brussels breweries are offering a delivery service to the homes of thirsty customers and for some business is booming.
All bars in Belgium have been shut since the start of the lockdown a month ago, dealing a blow to smaller brewers such as Brasserie de la Senne, en Stoemelings or La Source Beer, whose products are hard to find in supermarkets, which remain open.
To keep business alive, half a dozen of the microbreweries are encouraging their fans to buy online, charging around 50 euros for a case of 24 bottles, bicycle delivery included.
Some even offer to donate up to 30 euros or a percentage of such direct beer sales to Brussels hospitals to help fight the pandemic. More than 5,500 people are currently in Belgium’s hospitals with COVID-19, the disease casued by the virus.
Jeroen Verhoeven, 42, who runs the Bicy KLET beer delivery service for Brasserie de la Senne, said he has been in business since 2013, but that during the lockdown volumes have soared and he sometimes has to ask friends to help, to meet all the demand.
Before the lockdown he would deliver about 40 cases a month but now he is delivering that number in just one day, he said.
“It is now really taking off, I sometimes deliver 40 cases a day,” he told Reuters. As soon as he gets money in his account, he hops on the bike and delivers the beer, depositing the crate on the doorstep to avoid direct contact with the buyer.
“It is nicer now in the lockdown because there is far less traffic in the streets,” Verhoeven said.
Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Gareth Jones