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Islington brewery ‘not expecting growth’ over Christmas as sales margins plummet

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 November 2020

Left to right: general manager Enrique and employee Riaz. Picture: Brewhouse & Kitchen

Left to right: general manager Enrique and employee Riaz. Picture: Brewhouse & Kitchen

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An Islington brewery has seen its sales plummet by 40 per cent compared to previous years due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Brewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel. Picture: Brewhouse & KitchenBrewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel. Picture: Brewhouse & Kitchen

Brewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel that operates as a pub and kitchen with 15 staff.

Like businesses all over the country, it was closed for nearly three months during the first lockdown and has had to shut once again during the second lockdown from November 5.

General manager Enrique Florez, 53, was cautious when asked about what Christmas would be like for his business.

He said: “In my 25 years in this industry I have never seen anything like this.

Brewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel. Picture: Brewhouse & KitchenBrewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel. Picture: Brewhouse & Kitchen

“Expectations are very real, we are not expecting any growth.”

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The business had been staying afloat after the first lockdown by only buying a limited amount of stock.

It had also adjusted working practices for the period it was allowed to be open, in line with governmental regulations, such as requiring customers to order from their phones for table service to prevent mass gatherings on the counter.

Enrique said it lost a main customer base when office workers become stationed from home, as they make up about 60pc of the businesses’ profits.

Brewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel. Picture: Brewhouse & KitchenBrewhouse & Kitchen is a four-year-old microbrewery based in Angel. Picture: Brewhouse & Kitchen

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James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, also spoke about the impact of lockdown on small breweries.

He said: “The evidence shows that when pubs are told to close, the impact on small breweries is devastating, with small brewery sales during the first lockdown down 82pc.

“The hospitality sector has asked government for evidence on how restrictions on pubs, bars and taprooms will help control the virus.

“We have not been provided with it.”

Enrique did, however, provide some optimism to residents.

He said: “Being a local brewery is something that makes us proud.

“We use as many ingredients from the UK (as we can), as we know it matters to our customers.

“We are always helping our customers whether it is through discounts or free beer, because we are happy to say thank you.”

Enrique is looking to reopen as soon as he can, which as it stands, will be after December 2.

Brewhouse & Kitchen Islington is on Torrens Street, but there are also branches in Hoxton, Highbury, and across the UK.


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