Surprising self isolation shopping trend in Tweed
ENFORCING social distancing was never something home brew supplier Sue Martin thought she would have to do but it is something she is practising with a passion.
With the prospect of a possible coronavirus lockdown looming, the Border Brewing Supplies owner is being rushed off her feet with regulars stocking up and "newcomers" coming in to get started at making beer.
"Our regulars are coming and buying up big just in case we go into lockdown," Sue said.
"Most of them are bulking up on their favourite brews and we are busy keeping up stock.
"What is also happening is people who may have been thinking about giving home brewing a try have decided that if they are going to have to stay at home, they may as well have something to do.
"At the moment, we are seeing a run on home brew kits which have everything you need including plastic bottles as well as a demand for fermenters.
"I don't think there are too many home brew shops who would have fermenters for sale, stocks in Australia are just about exhausted as the demand has been huge.
"There has also been plenty of inquiry for stills so that people can make their own hand sanitiser alcohol which is in short supply."
She said she had been forced to ensure that customers at her Tweed Heads South shop remained the required social distance apart which was a challenge.
"My regulars come in and know exactly what they want and put their purchases on the counter while I might be explaining to some just started out on what they need to do," she said.
"Everyone has to keep their distance, and just like making beer, patience is key."
Sue said stocks were still coming through but it was slow in coming as delivery demands increased.
"There's no doubt this coronavirus crisis has everyone thinking about what they can do staying at home and home brewing, whether is it for beer, cider or even ginger beer is on their minds."
If you are starting out as a homer brewer, what are some key point to consider?
"What I tell people is that there are three key components to making home brew.
"Firstly, make sure all your equipment has been sterilised and clean - from your fermenter to your bottles;
"Secondly, know and understand your beer - keeping your fermenter at the correct temperature, allowing the brew to go its full brewing cycle and not trying to bottle it too soon; and thirdly, be patient.
"You need to allow the beer to mature in the bottle and that can take some time if you want the best results.
"If you follow those steps, you will find it can be a very rewarding hobby, especially in these times and if you are unsure just contact your home brew supply shop."