Embrace the Suck | Covid-19 Crisis Editorial
Embrace the Suck: verb, slang, military slang. “To consciously accept or appreciate something that is extremely unpleasant but unavoidable for forward progress.”
The Embrace the Suck mantra does not suggest that we should celebrate the suck, find joy in the suck nor pretend a situation isn’t as bad as it seems. Embrace the Suck requires one to accept fully that our present situation does indeed suck, and that we must willingly accept it. We must understand that it has to suck for a while and that only by enduring can we eventually arrive at a point where it no longer sucks.
And that is where we are in the world, which includes everything attached to craft beer.
Embrace the Suck means accepting the reality that bad news will come. Breweries will fold. Employees will never come back. The industry will shrink. Potential customers will decline because they, too, have lost their jobs.
But it has to suck. We must accept that. Because to Embrace the Suck also means to understand that we do so to attain victory.
Our enemy is the virus, and staying at home is our weapon. For there to ever be a time in the future where we sit in a taproom or bar again, we must accept that closing them down for as long as necessary in our present time is our only option. If we embrace the suck, it won’t always suck.
Embrace the suck does not mean avoiding a fight. Soldiers storming the shores of Normandy certainly understood it sucked, but they fought (literally) for their lives.
So, in addition to staying at home, we who still have the financial means can make good choices with how to spend our money. All breweries will be hurt, unquestionably, even those with deep pockets. But, the corporate-owned entities are in a much better position to withstand the economic downfall. Meanwhile, the little operations and the smaller bars, which already survived on small profits, are in desperate need of craft beer drinker’s assistance.
Yesterday, Bart Watson of the Brewers Association published a survey gauging the economic impact that COVID-19 has already had on over 900 breweries. 95% of respondents expect a down year in terms of year over year sales. But what is perhaps the most alarming discovery to emerge from this survey, is that 2.5% of the breweries polled already anticipate closing as a result of the Coronavirus, and another 12.7% responded saying that they have a month or less of runway room before they’ll have to consider closure as well. That number rises even more dramatically to 46.4% if closures continue for another 1-3 months.
Keep in mind that after the Prohibition ended during the Great Depression, the beer scene in America changed dramatically in favor of macro-brands. The situations are not the same, by any means — in fact, they are quite different. Nonetheless, during downturns and times when access to beer is limited (or non-existent), large breweries possess a far greater ability to adapt, to sell their beer more broadly (such as with supermarkets) and to market their products. If you are one that enjoys craft beer, remind yourself that the many who are still buying 24-packs of macro beer are putting money into the same bank account that ultimately helps the macro-owned “craftys.” Independent and family-owned businesses enjoy no such benefit. So, you have a weapon: a choice to support the breweries and bars most in need.
Can you save them all? No. But sucking does not mean lying still. We embrace the suck. We fight while it sucks. We help our neighbors who need our help. We talk to our family and friends (electronically) to make sure we all hang in there. We do it because we understand it sucks. We do it because we Embrace the Suck and do what’s necessary while it sucks. And then, eventually, the suck will end.
Feature image photo credit: Joyride Brewing Company