A NEW website has been launched by a New Forest entrepreneur with the aim of helping small craft beer producers and customers come together during the lockdown.
James Gardener, who is chief executive of Fritham-based software company Premier Systems, realised many real ale fans would be missing being able to drop into a pub for a pint or bottle of their favourite tipple.
He was also aware that many craft beer producers, especially small-scale ones, could be struggling to find a way to get through the pandemic now pubs and bars are closed.
His answer was to create a website – www.craftbeerdrop.com – where customers can just input their postcode to find an independent brewery which is delivering to their area.
James only launched the website two weeks ago but described the response as “brilliant”. He said: “In the first few days we had signed up 20-30 breweries.
“We are aiming at local breweries ranging from one-man bands to larger producers. Many of them are struggling now because the places they normally supply are shut.
“Our website gives them the chance to attract new customers as well being able to deliver to people who already like their beers.
“It also means fans of craft beer can also discover new offerings as well as their favourites.”
Among local producers in the region to have already signed up to the website are Romsey-based Flack Manor Brewery and Dorset Brewery.
James says he is not “taking a penny” from the website, apart from credit card handling fees, as the service is free for customers and breweries to use.
He said: “Many craft breweries saw their customers and revenue disappear overnight.
“Many are now reliant on selling directly by offering contactless delivery to individuals in their homes. Craftbeerdrop.com aims to help connect craft breweries with beer drinkers in their area.”
James said the website is aimed at helping to invigorate local economies while helping people to enjoy, quality craft beer at home.
He also hopes people will take the opportunity to explore the diverse range of ales and beers on offer from British breweries.
The website has been created by Premier Systems which provides software to some of the UK’s best breweries.
James said that by launching the website he hopes it will help smaller breweries keep going until the pubs are open again.