LIKE many in the hospitality sector, it has been a "coronacoaster" ride this year.
Unlike most, however, Bridge Road Brewers founders Ben and Maria Kraus have had to watch from afar as the summer bushfire crisis savaged North East tourism before the coronavirus pandemic was the sting in the tail.
Speaking from Austria this week, Mr Kraus said they had at times felt helpless in the face of everything that unfolded in the North East over six months.
Mr Kraus was home for a week in November and had planned to return for the High Country Hops Festival, which was cancelled.
"First the summer bushfires and then COVID-19; it was tough not to be alongside my workmates but it was outside anyone's control too," he said.
Having marked the brewery's 15th anniversary on the Queen's Birthday long weekend, Mr Kraus said the couple were proud of what they built from humble beginnings in his dad's backyard shed.
"When Maria and I began our brewery journey as fresh-faced 20-somethings, we could never have imagined that we'd come so far," Mr Kraus said.
"We'd like to thank our team, who strive to make Bridge Road the best it can be especially during this shocker of a year, which has undoubtedly been the toughest we've encountered in beer, life and business!
"We're endlessly grateful for the support of our community and customers."
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Mr Kraus said the business conditions had been brutal in the past six months.
"It has been a real struggle for the business," he said.
"A big part of the business is selling beer around the nation, the distributed beer; that's 30 per cent of what we should normally be doing.
"From an Albury-Wodonga perspective, we've never been stronger; we've never had more tap points there or throughout the North East. We've seen a real increase in support!"
With the family flying back to Australia in August, Mr Kraus said they looked forward to getting home after an epic journey.
He said the children were learning from home every second day now after Austria locked down earlier and stricter than most nations.
On the bright side, he said people had more family time and spent less on things they didn't need.
"Now I'm managing to get time with my eight-year-old to help him with his maths and German homework," Mr Kraus quipped.
Pre-orders are open for Bridge Road's anniversary ale, B2 Bomber.
National release is July 10.
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