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Journal of Hospitality and Tourism ; 19(2):1-15, 2021.
Article in English | CAB Abstracts | ID: covidwho-1897919


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to propose a way to minimize the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the activities of mini-breweries. Research questions: Has pandemic affected the decrease in mini-breweries production? Can tourism help to save mini-breweries? What specific problems has the pandemic caused to mini-breweries? How do mini-breweries solve their problems? Research Methods: The paper presents a comparative analysis of the results of primary sources obtained through a questionnaire survey. The research tool used was an online survey conducted between 10 September and 10 October 2020 capturing answers from 59 mini-breweries in the Czech Republic. The survey examined effects of the pandemic, views on the changing beer market, mitigation measures, effects on demand for beer and other services and evaluation of government measures. Minibreweries were contacted in writing or in person. There were three categories for the length of operation of the minibrewery on the market. 33 microbreweries have been on the market for more than 5 years, 23 for a period of 2 to 5 years and the remaining 3 have been on the market for less than 2 years. It was also examined where mini-breweries have their headquarters. The majority of respondents was from municipalities with less than 2,000 inhabitants, a total of 14. Cities of 2 - 5 000 habitants were represented by 6 microbreweries, 5 - 10 000 by 8, 10 - 50 000 by 9, 50 - 100 000 by 1 and larger than 100 000 by 9. The second largest group consisted of breweries from Prague with 12 responses. Results and Discussion: The pandemic negatively or rather negatively affected the economy of mini-breweries (75%). The pandemic did not affect the economy at all (10%). It is too early to assess effects of the pandemic (10%). The economy of mini-breweries has improved (5%). The pandemic caused a dramatic drop in sales (67.8%). The mini-brewery lost customers (40.7%). The mini-brewery sustained economic losses due to the wastage of already brewed beer (25.4%). The mini-brewery lost employees (22.0%). The pandemic had no impact (16.9%). The mini-brewery reported higher sales (1.7%). Mini-breweries responded to the situation: 76.3% opened a takeaway window;59.3% distributed beer to clients;52.5% changed the structure of beer bottling;45.8% started using social media more;42,4% increased Internet advertising;40.7% started online sales;10.2% reduced the range of products. Brewers perceive tourism as a possible starting point. The role of off-trade is often mentioned, as well as the price of beer as factors influencing the demand for beer. The research clearly confirmed the need to strengthen the role of tourism as a tool to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on microbreweries. It demonstrates the need for a specific focus on a specific tourist segment coming to the Czech Republic, not only in beer or gastronomic tourism but also in experiential, cultural-historical and educational tourism in deeper cooperation with destination management organizations. Implications: The pandemic has an impact on the activities of mini-breweries, beer production has been reduced, employees have lost their jobs, premises have been closed and the number of customers dropped. Most mini-breweries have introduced product and marketing innovations. Renewed tourism can revive the activities of mini-breweries with their original products (tourist brewery tours, tastings, sale of souvenirs) and new ones (opening a beer museum, social and entertainment events, beer brewing experience courses, etc.). The research suggests the cooperation of several entities - mini-breweries with a specific DMO of the region in which the mini-brewery is located - the CzechTourism national tourism centre - by selected travel agencies or offices focusing on experiential gastronomy, beer, educational and cultural-historical tourism. As part of the proposed cooperation, it will be possible to streamline national and foreign marketing projects to raise the profile of mini-breweries and increase tourists' awareness of the ex