MANILA -- Like many micro-small and medium enterprises, the craft beer industry is hurting right now. Craft beer, traditionally more expensive than mainstream beers, have become a luxury now more than ever with all the uncertainty brought by the pandemic.
Because of travel restrictions and the need for social distancing, bars and tap rooms have been shuttered indefinitely. While some brewers have been able to transition to beer-to-go and delivery services, liquor bans enforced in several cities have halted opportunities for many to sell their remaining beer supplies.
Here’s a glimpse at some positive efforts taking place in a handful of local breweries, how they’re creatively adapting to the crisis, and giving back to the community.
Elias Wicked Ales & Spirits
Early in March before the enhanced community quarantine was declared, brewer Raoul Masangcay of Elias Wicked Ales and Spirits used his two microbreweries in Quezon City and Paranaque to produce rubbing alcohol. Because of the scarcity of alcohol and sanitizers, his team used their barley to produce “distilled beer” or 70% ethanol.
On March 14, they rolled out 1,500 60-milliliter bottles of craft spray sanitizer dubbed “Spray for Manila” which were delivered to Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Rizal Medical Center in Pasig, Marcelo Padilla Hospital in Bulacan, Ospital ng Maynila, Ospital ng Makati and Lifeline Paranaque.
As restaurants were forced to close down, the brewery shifted to online delivery for food along with 4-packs of beer. Unfortunately, with liquor bans in place, they no longer deliver beer, but are still delivering food and non-alcoholic root beer.
To help with overhead costs, they’re selling special gift certificates at discounted prices for a limited time, which guests can purchase now and use at full value at either Ubay St. or BF Homes Breweries once they open. To purchase, visit wickedelias.com.
Sagada-based brewers Andrew Chinalpan and Bing Clemente have also used their brewing equipment to produce rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers which were given free to frontliners in the municipality.
The brewers behind Cerveza Sagada distilled 3 batches of their craft beer, to come up with 4 liters of hand sanitizers. They still have around 6 liters of plain 74% alcohol, lotions and aloe vera gel ready to mix.
In a Facebook post, the Sagada Rural Health Unit has asked donors based in the Cordillera region for additional raw materials that can be used by the brewers to produce more alcohol and sanitizers for frontliners.
Puerto Princesa-based Palaweño Brewery sent some love to their frontliners at Ospital ng Palawan. Brewers Aya Javier and Malu Lauencgo took a break from brewing beer to instead churn out healthy Tropical Ade, a healthy beverage made with watermelon, orange, lemon and honey. The microbrewery partnered with food service distributor The Cupboard Project for the containers and Menthea Industrial Supplies to produce 2 cases of tropical ade.
Two cases of the immune-boosting drinks were sent to frontliners in the hospital of Palawan with inspiring messages urging them to stay healthy and strong along with 5 gallons of medical alcohol.
Nipa Brew Craft Beers
With their Makati-based taproom closed, Nipa Brew has ramped up their food and beer delivery service which they’ve been operating for a couple of years now. They encourage people to practice social distancing while enjoying a drink or two through their beer delivery services. The 4 + 4 Beer Donation Drive is ideal for those celebrating special events apart or want to send gifts to friends. Whenever you order a 4-pack from them, they can send another pack to a friend of your choosing.
Nipa Brew also happens to run Botany by WTH (Worth the Health), a kitchen that has developed healthy plant-based frozen food and cooked food. Along with the beer deliveries, they can deliver food items like WTH giniling, a ready-to-eat mung bean based protein that can be used in any dish that calls for ground meat and WTH Lumpia.
Consumers can also choose to pay it forward by ordering food that will be delivered to doctors and frontliners. For orders, visit this link.
The Brewery at the Palace
The Microbrewery Co., Inc., which operates Draft Restaurant and The Brewery at The Palace, initiated a food drive for frontliners and the less fortunate, converting their commissary to a community kitchen. They aim to serve their company’s initial pledge of 15,000 ready-to-eat, safely-prepared, nourishing meals to families encountering difficulties accessing food affected by the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon in the wake of the corona virus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country as well as frontliners.
As of April 16, they’ve been able to donate 8,725 meals to frontliners in a span of two weeks. They are still accepting donations in any denominations via bank account, GCash or Paypal. Visit this page to donate. Last April 20, they also resumed operations to deliver comfort food and booze for pickup and delivery.