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Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic forced event centers, sporting venues, bars and restaurants to close across the U.S. — leaving millions of gallons of beer unused and at risk of going stale, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: A variety of industries are struggling to deal with excess stock as the virus continues to take its toll, per the Journal. Farmers are dumping food that would've gone to now-closed restaurants, while airlines hunt for places to park their idled fleet, and commodity traders search for floating supertankers to store excess crude oil.

Normally, brewers would be gearing up for a busy season as summer nears, but they've already missed out on the NCAA's March Madness basketball tournament and St. Patrick's Day.

  • Brewers and distributors will also take a hit from the postponement of Major League Baseball's season, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and European soccer.
"This was the absolute worst time for this to happen for draft beer. We have never seen an interruption like this where everything freezes in place."
— Craig Purser, CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, to the WSJ

The state of play: The unsold or expired beer could cost the industry as much as $1 billion, per the Journal.

  • Brewers are struggling to figure out what to do with the excess suds. In March, roughly 10 million gallons were abandoned in venues, according to an NBWA estimate.
  • Large quantities of beer can't be dumped into the water stream because environmental regulations say it can negatively impact the pH balance, reduce oxygen and produce bad bacteria.

The impact: Brewers and distributors are still debating who will absorb the cost, which could be devastating for small and locally owned businesses.

  • Guinness maker Diageo PLC, Anheuser Busch InBev SA and Modelo owner Constellation Brands Inc. are among the businesses that have pledged to share the cost of undrunk beer with distributors, the Journal writes.

Go deeper: America stocks up on alcohol during coronavirus pandemic

Go deeper

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.

Updated 47 mins ago - Economy & Business

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era lends perspective to the historic damage caused by the pandemic, which continued to weigh on growth in the final quarter of 2020.

By the numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the prior quarter. For the full year, the economy shrank by 3.5% — the first annual contraction since the financial crisis and the worst decline since 1946.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.