Earlier in the year the news was full of doom and gloom relating to the economy. It got me worried and I'm sure many others were too. With all our reserves tied up in the investments made to the building and the banks looking increasingly unhappy about turning equity into cash, we needed a careful approach to unnecessary spending. Couple that with the possibility that customers might stop spending, a worrying time was in store.
As a good business man would, I keep a running check on financial performance. I know I'm not a good business man, but occasionally I pretend and have a wee peek at the figures. They're not superb, but they are no worse than any other year, within the normal variations caused by such things as the changing date of Easter. The warm weather in June seems to have balanced out the slow March start to the season. Either way the "recession" seems to have had no real effect on business. The hot weather, however, is making people thirsty.
There are some more subtle changes I'm noticing to trade. Every single brewer I've spoken to reports healthy sales. Some even reporting having difficulties keeping up with demand. I've noticed that some breweries that used to ring up every week touting for custom are now waiting for us to call them. When we do call the choices left are often much reduced. Beer sales generally might well be declining but not from the quality microbreweries from which we source our beers.
The biggest change we are noticing is in accommodation bookings. We used to be fully booked in advance for most weekends. This year we seem to be taking much more in the way of late bookings. An effect, we think, of the "staycation" holiday. Recently, we've have had space up until the last minute and even been filling up with people "off the street". Indeed, it seems many more people are setting off from home with no idea where they will end up. Many more people are coming in off the street looking for rooms than in previous years.
It would seem we're reasonably recession proof. The word on the business street is that unless the wolf is already scratching at the door, you've probably got over the worst. It might not be much consolation to anybody who has lost their job, or whose business has gone down the tubes, but I do think things are looking up both for pubs and for the economy in general. Don't start complaining that it's too hot, like I nearly did, just get out there and drink some beer.
1Ha, the palate was delivered before I got a chance to finish this post. In fact, I spent most of the day washing out the brewery and bringing in the malt. Tomorrow is brew day, yippee, and I've got some new types of malt, yippee again. That'll stop any beer
Speaking of which, I've just put some beer in bottles at my first try at bottle conditioning. I'm not shouting too loud yet, it might be a dismal failure. It'll take a couple of weeks before we know if the conditioning is good. After that I have to look for a "brewhouse flavour that is not flattering", something to do with sparge temperature is my guess, and then start work on the next iteration.