‘Ridiculous amounts’ of beer dumped amid forced bar closures: Winnipeg brewers

‘Ridiculous amounts’ of beer dumped amid forced bar closures: Winnipeg brewers - image

It’s enough to make a brewski aficionado weep while sudsy hops are poured down the sink.

An enormous amount of beer is going to waste in Winnipeg thanks to some bars and pubs being forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Other establishments operating at reduced capacity are also having to dump hundreds of gallons down the drain

Read more: Casinos, bars, bingo halls closed under tighter coronavirus restrictions coming to Winnipeg area

“There’s only so much beer we can use for our beer battered fish, you know what I mean?” Chris Graves joked, after pouring a pitcher of Samuel Adams down the drain at The King’s Head Pub.

Graves, the pub’s owner, said his bar has been forced to dispose of even more ale after the province announced all establishments with an entertainment licence will have to remain closed until at least Nov. 2.

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Click to play video: 'Beer dumping' Beer dumping
Beer dumping – Oct 20, 2020

“We literally have no choice but to dump it. Our margins are already super thin as it is anyway, when we’re just throwing stuff away like that it really hurts us.”

Monday marked the second time during the pandemic restaurants have been made to close by public health authorities.

“We can only drink so much. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it,” said Kevin Monk, who co-owns the Toad in the Hole Pub with his brother Michael.

Kevin Monk, a co-owner of the Toad Pub on Osborne Street. Marek Tkach / Global News

So how much beer is actually going to waste?

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“I have eight draft lines and each one of them had a keg attached to it, different levels I’m sure. That’s a tough question to answer, how much. A lot,” said Monk.

“We have 35 taps at the King’s Head, every tap holds about eight pints of beer,” Graves said.

Read more: Winnipeg businesses forced to shutter for two weeks amid COVID-19 spike frustrated

With a full King’s Head tap-beer inventory, that around 280 wasted pints.

“We’re looking at probably around the $5,000-$10,000 range in what we’ve actually lost and I’m actually being quite generous on that. It’s probably exponentially more.”

The kegs under the bar at the Toad Pub. Marek Tkach / Global News

With all that beer going down the drain, one Winnipeg brewery is making is changes to avoid having to toss large amounts.

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Little Brown Jug installed their own canning line two years ago. It’s a move that has helped them stay ahead during the pandemic.

The machinery allows the brewery to quickly change between packaging kegs and cans.

“Having the canning line gives us that flexibility to decide on the spot when we’re canning or kegging, what volume we’re gonna do in cans and what volume we’re going to do in kegs,” said the brewery’s general manager Chantal Hogue.

While business picked up over the summer, sales have dropped from what they usually are, as it is at many bars and  restaurants in the Winnipeg area continuing to struggle amid the pandemic, Hogue added.

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