Portsmouth brewery business 'nearly killed' by Brexit and pandemic has bold plans for 2022
A BREWERY owner says his business was ‘nearly killed’ by Brexit and the pandemic but has vowed for people to ‘watch this space’ as he bids to bounce back in the New Year.
Joe Ross, owner of the popular Staggeringly Good brewery in Rodney Road, Milton, told The News it is a case of ‘adapt or die’.
The brewery, which was thriving with sales to the EU before Brexit, has been hit hard with a drop of 70 per cent in exports - with many former customers now buying from America via air freight as it is cheaper than shipping across the Channel.
Before Brexit, shipping costs would cost £180 but have now rocketed to £600, while paperwork for transactions have been described as a ‘bureaucratic nightmare’.
As for many traders, the pandemic has proved to be disastrous for Staggeringly Good.
Joe took over the spacious unit in Rodney Road at the ‘worst time ever’ at the start of the pandemic, while recently Christmas parties booked at the site were cancelled - leaving the business thousands of pounds down on trade.
Speaking of his ordeal, Joe said: ‘To say it has all nearly killed us would be an understatement. It has been very hard work.
‘We took over the unit at the worst time. There were no concessions. We had to sell a lot of beer to break even.
‘More recently we had lots of Christmas parties cancelling at the last minute. One was a £10,000 deal with a big firm. It has been a very unpredictable time. We are having to reform how we work.
‘It’s a new existence we have to face with bravery.’
Speaking of the fallout from Brexit, Joe said: ‘Before we were selling a lot of beer to countries in the EU but now we have seen a price hike and exports dropping by 70 per cent.
‘Companies in the EU that were buying from us are now buying from the USA by air freight.’
But despite the challenges thrown his way, Joe said the business is rising to the occasion with them offering new stone baked pizzas via Uber Eats.
There are also plans to maximise the offering of the vast unit space following the success of its first Christmas market recently.
‘Adapt or die is my philosophy,’ Joe said. ‘We will be making a push with food this year and will offer the space for wedding hire and other events.
‘We are only here for three days a week so companies can hire it out on the other days. Watch this space.’
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Joe also believes the area is one of the most creative hubs in the country. ‘Southsea has more independent traders than anywhere which is not celebrated enough,’ he added.