THE WAKKER WEEKLY
Issue #1562 – Posted on: 04-January-2021
Editor’s Note: Well, 2020 has certainly been one of the most challenging years many of us have ever encountered. The global pandemic has been particularly devastating for the hospitality industry. Bushwakker temporarily closed on Thursday, March 19th. To see our empty brewpub the next day, which would normally have been a full-house Friday, was surreal to say the least. Dropping from 55 employees to only four was heartbreaking. We always felt we would be able to weather the storm but we had no idea just how long the storm would last. This uncertainty was quite disconcerting.
After being closed for a number of weeks, floor manager Cheryl and bar manager Grant tried their hand at selling offsale Bushwakker beer on Saturdays and they were met with many overjoyed beer fans. A few weeks later we began offering a limited takeout food menu on weekends and that initiative was also very well received. We were quickly made aware of the comforting power of our cheesecakes, stout cakes and bourbon pecan pies as well as our fish & chips.
In late May the provincial government announced that restaurants would be allowed to re-open at a limited capacity on June 8th and that is exactly what we did. Business was slow at the start but gradually increased when customers saw the many steps we were taking to ensure their safety. By mid-September our level of business had increased to the point where we were calling back a number of our employees to meet the growing demand for our services. Unfortunately, this trend only lasted until late October when the number of Covid cases began to rise sharply and people retreated back into their homes.
December has proven to be a better month with a number of our customers choosing to visit us for late leisurely lunches or ordering takeout. Our annual Mead Day saw the introduction of online purchasing, curbside pickup and takeaway options which proved to be extremely popular, so much so that we will continue to offer this service again next year (which will be December 4, 2021.)
The immediate future impact of the pandemic is uncertain. One could assume things will get worse before they improve. Further enhanced restrictions are indeed a very real possibility. The gravity of these restrictions will very much be a result of our behaviour in how we conduct ourselves in a Covid world. To this end, the song remains the same; wash your hands, cough in your elbow, wear a mask if you cannot maintain safe physical distancing and don’t touch your face. These four simple practices have incredible impact on the lives of those around you as well as on our economy.
2021 promises much hope with the continued introduction of a vaccine into our community. The process cannot be fast enough for some but it will take time. Brighter days are most certainly ahead. We are very grateful to the federal and provincial governments as well as Tourism Saskatchewan for their financial support during this unprecedented time. Without their assistance it would be very difficult to continue our operations. And much thanks to you dear readers, for your enthusiastic support. We would not be here today if it wasn’t for you. 2020 has certainly reminded us how much we appreciate your enduring patronage.
Best wishes for a healthy prosperous new year and to connecting safely with family and friends!
BREWERY “HOP”PENINGS! Bushwakker Head brewer, Michael Gaetz, reports our seasonally available Orangerine (Orange & Tangerine) Ale, Premium Pale Ale and Chinook ESB are currently on tap! There are also 13 other year round brews to choose from making a total of 16 Bushwakker brews currently available.
Beer Collectors Alert! The biggest beer in Bushwakker history will be unveiled in late January to commemorate our 30th Anniversary. It has been quietly aging away in our beer cellar for over two years getting ready for its big release. Only 300 limited edition will be produced. Stay tuned!
JANUARY PREMIUM WINE FEATURES. From the Pelee Island Winery in Ontario. The red is Baco Noir Reserve and the white is a Gewurztraminer. Both are $7.95 for a glass and $21.95 for a half litre.
Our Saturday CLASSIC STEAK & A PINT SPECIAL for $21.95 will be available this January 2nd.
In addition to taking our beer home in glass bottles, 2 litre jugs and growler fills direct from our pub, you can find a varying selection of 650 ml bottles of Bushwakker beer in ALL SIX REGINA SLGA stores.
BUSHWAKKER 2020 NEW YEAR’S EVE PRIME RIB DINNER
Starter: Choose from Butternut Squash Soup with red pepper coulis and toasted pumpkin seeds OR
Tossed Salad with Sundried Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette
Main: Slow roasted Peppercorn and Garlic Crusted AAA Black Angus Prime Rib with rosemary red wine jus and Jumbo Yorkshire Pudding. Served with a side of horseradish, aged cheddar chive mashed potatoes and Chef’s seasonal vegetables. Available in an 8 ounce for $29.95 or a 10 ounce cut for $34.95.
Optional Dessert: Malted Cheesecake with Chocolate Porter Sauce
Full menu will also be available!
NOTHING FOR NEW YEARS 15 is still going ahead on Thursday, December 31 with our famous slow roasted AAA Black Angus Prime Rib and Jumbo Yorkshire Pudding! Full menu will also be available. Make your reservation for our spacious in-house dining by calling 306-359-7276. Two seating times are available. The first is from 4:30 – 7:00 and the second is from 7:00 – 10:00. Call today!
BUSHWAKKER “NEW NORMAL” NOTES
Our Hours of Operation are Monday to Thursday from 11:30 AM until 9:00 PM and the kitchen closes at 8:00 PM. Fridays and Saturdays we open at 11:00 AM and close at 10:00 PM. Kitchen closes at 9:00 PM. We are still closed on Sundays at this time. Our takeout food and beer services will continue to be made available.
Reservations are accepted and encouraged. We accept reservations as late as 6:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. Call at 306-359-7276 to secure your table. Please note under the new provincial guidelines the maximum number of people who can be seated at the same table is now limited to four. Larger reservations must occupy more than one table and maintain three meters of physical distancing between each table.
Please continue to practice safe health and social distancing practices. Remain connected to one another and to us! In addition to this weekly newsletter, we are very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check-in with us often as we navigate these continually evolving times together. Try to support local businesses whenever possible. Be vigilant in your resolve to protect yourselves which in turn will protect others. Please don’t let your guard DOWN so the province can open back UP!
Chef Mike’s “melt in your Mouth” Prime Rib returns this New Year’s Eve. What a way to boot out 2020! Our full menu will also be available!
By Bart Watson
This article summarizes some of the key facts and figures of a turbulent 2020, with an eye toward the craft market in 2021. For those who missed it, there is a longer presentation available to Brewers Association members.
Small and independent brewers are on track to see their numbers decline 7-8% in 2020. This could change if on-premise slowdowns deepen in December, traditionally a strong selling period for small brewers. This follows a 10% decline at mid-year and a 5% decline in Q3.
There are large variations by brewer and region in that number. For example, while the total craft number was -5% in Q3, the smallest brewers have been hit harder, due to their reliance on draught and at-the-brewery sales, and so were down closer to 30% during the quarter.
For 2021, my models are showing growth of 6-7% over 2020, but production levels that still fall below 2019, meaning it will take craft until 2022 to recover to its previous levels, and longer to fully return to the growth trend it had been following of 3-4% per year.
The on-premise has borne the brunt of the pandemic’s market disruptions. While data suggests that things improved between Q2 and Q3, most indicators showed on-premise sales still down a quarter or more year-over-year in Q3. In addition, near real-time indicators from companies like BeerBoard and Nielsen CGA show November and December numbers that are trending downward, suggesting Q4 might look more like Q2 than a sustained recovery.
The biggest reason that full recovery is unlikely anytime soon? Around one-fifth of on-premise consumers are waiting for a vaccine or treatment before they return to the on-premise (source: Brewers Association analysis of Nielsen CGA data). For that reason, it seems hard to believe there will be any significant recovery until late Q2 at the earliest.
In addition, although the second half of 2021 will likely look better, I believe it’s unlikely we’ll get back to 2019 levels right away. The combination of new customer patterns (not all of those 20% are going to rush back to the way they did things before) and closed accounts will put a cap on the extent of the recovery. In addition, as you plan for 2021, I urge you to look at how the same level of sales might look different. Urban areas that rely on office workers may come back much slower as people continue to work from home, whereas the suburbs may see increased sales. Different places, patterns, and businesses will mean similar sales have different winners and losers for the next year or two.
TIME OUT – Realistic Resolutions
My New Year’s resolution is to help all my friends gain ten pounds so I look skinnier.
To kick start my New Year: I took an IQ test and the results were negative.
My resolution was to read more so I put the subtitles on my TV.
It’s officially New Year’s Eve, you only have a couple of hours to do all the things you will resolve not to do in the New Year.
I was going to quit all my bad habits for the New Year, but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter.
My wife still hasn’t told me what my New Year’s resolutions are.