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Coronavirus: Spanish beer industry records huge losses

The closure of bars, restaurants and hotels and the absence of tourism during Spain's lockdown has caused sales to drop considerably.

Una mujer toma una cerveza en una terraza de Madrid.
Eduardo ParraEuropa Press

Following the state of emergency declared in Spain on 14 March, the ensuing lockdown has hit traditional leisure industries hard, particularly the beer industry.

A huge drop in sales

Citizens inability to frequent bars, restaurants and hotels and a huge drop in tourism – all staples of the Spanish economy – as well as restrictions on socialising in a range of contexts, has seriously affected beer sales, which have not been balanced out by enforced home drinking.

"Some people might think that what you don't drink outside your home can be drunk inside, but that's not what we saw in the last economic crisis. Back then, beer sales in bars fell 20% and just a small number was compensated in supermarket shopping," Jacobo Olalla, general manager of the trade association Cerveceros de España, told EFE.

Temporary redundancies

As a result of this drop in sales, the beer industry has already announced that a number of companies in the industry may be forced to make temporary redundancy cuts to soften the financial blow caused by the current coronavirus pandemic.

"It's obvious that we're going to have to make temporary redundancies in the industry. If we don't want companies that rely on the hospitality industry to close, then we have to facilitate these force majeure-ralated lay-offs. If not, cutbacks will have to be made through other channels," Olalla said.

Check out our in-depth guide to the coronavirus pandemic.