COVID-19 Transmission

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Beer Consumption and COVID-19

Some Americans have linked Corona beer with the coronavirus. Others have held the belief that drinking beer can cure the coronavirus disease. A high-level overview of what consumers and news outlets are saying about the pros and cons of drinking beer during the COVID-19 outbreak is presented below.
  • One of the common perspectives among the U.S. public during the COVID-19 outbreak has been the positive link between Corona beer and the coronavirus. Some Americans have linked the Mexican beer brand with the disease outbreak. In the United States, Google searches on Corona beer and the phrase ‘beer virus’ have surged, thus implying a connection between the brand and the disease.
  • The association between Corona beer and coronavirus infection influenced a major decline in consumption of the beer brand in the U.S. According to a recent consumer survey, approximately 38% of Americans would not consider buying and consuming the beer brand because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Some Americans have also held the belief that coronavirus can be cured by drinking beer. Others believe that consuming alcohol kills the coronavirus. The rumors originated from a fake latter purported to have been written by St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. The hospital has since debunked the letter.
  • Other news outlets have explored the connection between drinking beer and the immune system. A major risk of drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages during the COVID-19 outbreak is impairment of the immune system. According to some research, excessive consumption of alcohol including beer can undermine the body’s ability to heal by weakening the immune system.
  • COVID-19 outbreak has also undermined the social benefits of drinking beer. Following the outbreak in the U.S., many states such as North Carolina have stopped bars and restaurants’ operations.
  • Before the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers would meet in such placed and drink beer while socializing. According to some consumers, drinking beer has a social implication when done in bars. Therefore, closing bars and restaurants has taken away the social aspect of drinking beer.
  • Some Americans and retailers have also claimed that beer bottles can host COVID-19 virus. For example, Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association in Michigan issued a statement warning retailers against accepting empty beer containers during the outbreak. This warning was meant to ensure the safety of their employees.
  • While the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused fear among many Americans, there seems to be a small section that is less concerned. According to an article describing the culture of drinking beer in Bushwick in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, younger generations seem less concerned about the risk of drinking beer in bars. The young people featured seem to associate the pandemic with the elderly.
  • Although excessive consumption of beer during the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with decreased immunity, some people have linked moderate drinking to some positive outcomes. According to a recent article, several studies have indicated that moderate consumption of alcohol has positive psychological benefits such as increased affective expression and happiness as well as reduced stress and tension.
  • Since COVID-19 outbreak has caused much fear and panic among Americans, the view that moderate drinking of beer can relieve the stress and tension is seen as a positive factor.

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COVID-19: Beer Manufacturer Response

Research determined that beer manufacturers have been responding to COVID-19 in a variety of ways. Examples of these responses from beer brands include the production of hand sanitizer, putting out communication on measures that consumers can take to keep safe, and the closure of business segments that require close proximity interactions such as on-premise tasting services. Information on the response of hard seltzer manufacturers to COVID-19 was unavailable in the public domain.

Beer Manufacturers

Hand Sanitizer Manufacturing

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anheuser-Busch decided to get into the hand sanitizer production business.
  • The company is now manufacturing hand sanitizer that contains "80% alcohol, surpassing the 62% requirement set forth by the Federal Drug Administration."
  • Anheuser-Busch plans to donate its sanitizer to partners that include the American Red Cross and other non-profits. These partners will in turn distribute the sanitizer to areas that need it the most.
  • Another beer brand that is transforming its operations to manufacture hand sanitizer is Mississippi-based Lazy Magnolia Brewing.

Messaging on Keeping Safe

  • In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, beer brands such as Maryland Beer have put out communication to their customers encouraging them to adhere to safety precautions recommended by health and infectious disease experts.
  • Examples of precautions that Maryland Beer is advising consumers to take include remaining vigilant with handwashing and washing hands often, avoiding close contact, staying home if sick, and covering coughs and sneezes with tissues and the inside of the elbow.

Closure of On-premise Tasting Services

Special Online Programs

Information on Measures Beer Manufacturers are Taking

  • For informational purposes, the Urban Chestnut Brewing Company put out communication to consumers on the measures the company was putting in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The company did this by publishing information on the general strategy and tactics it was using to achieve its general goal of "providing an environment that is safe and healthy for its employees and patrons."
  • The strategies put in place by UCBC included monitoring personal health, frequently washing hands with soap and warm water, using hand sanitizers, avoiding contact with the face, cleaning and disinfecting, and avoiding close contact with people that are sick.

Dealing with Misinformation

  • In the wake of COVID-19, Corona beer and its parent company Constellation Brands have communication to deal with misinformation that has been spreading in the U.S.
  • Corona and Constellation Brands put out information to counter what was reported by PR firm 5W Public Relations, that "38% of Americans will not drink Corona beer because of the coronavirus."
  • According to Maggie Bowman, the senior director of communications for the beer division of Constellation Brands, "despite the misinformation circulating, consumer sentiment and sales remain strong. Consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business."

Research Strategy:

After going through the corporate websites of major hard seltzer manufacturers like White Claw and Truly, press release resources like Globenewswire and PR Newswire, business information resources like Business Insider and Forbes, and reputable news resources such as CNN and Reuters, we were unable to find any information in regard to the response of hard seltzer manufacturers to COVID-19. Our exhaustive process searched for any information on the response of hard seltzer manufacturers including consumer messaging, press releases, donations, partnerships, and transitioning to the production of hand sanitizer, but we were still unable to find any information on the COVID-19 response of such companies. We attributed this lack of information in the public domain to the fact that hard seltzer brands in the United States have not yet responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.