Czech beer industry posts losses of nearly five billion crowns due to Covid-19

Photo: Robin, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The Czech beer industry recorded losses amounting to nearly five billion crowns during the period from March until the end of June as a result of the restrictive measures related to the coronavirus outbreak, Martina Ferencová of the Beer and Malt Association announced on Tuesday, citing a survey conducted by the Centre for Economic and Market Analyses (CETA).

During the three-month period, sales of beer in pubs, restaurants and other venues dropped by 55 percent (or 728,000 hectolitres). On the other hand, sales of bottled and canned beer grew over the same period by CZK 794 million.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales of Czech breweries dropped by CZK 1.1 billion, while suppliers recorded a loss of CZK 165 million over the period from March until June. Significant losses are also expected in the distribution chain, the CETA survey suggests. According to Mrs Ferencová, the crisis in the beer industry will also have a negative impact on the state budget income.

Martina Ferencová | Photo: Eva Dvořáková,  Czech Radio

Although restaurants and pubs in the Czech Republic reopened at the end of May, Mrs Ferencová says only the coming weeks will show how many of them will actually survive. The situation is worst in Prague and Karlovy Vary, which are most affected by the lack of foreign tourists.

Pubs and restaurants were closed in the Czech Republic from March 14 and were only allowed to sell food over the counter. Outdoor gardens were allowed to reopen on May 15, while interiors opened on May 25.

According to restaurant owner Luboš Kastner, restaurant and pub owners in the Czech Republic would welcome a national programme supporting Czech gastronomy. He says he would also welcome other types of support, such as a temporary exemption of consumer or value added tax.

Mrs Ferencová says the overall losses will only be known in the autumn. She also says that in order to prevent any further losses in the beer industry, it is essential to prevent blanket closures of restaurants and pubs in the future.