Thursday, March 19, 2020

Craft Brewing & COVID-19

Hello everyone,

We all know by this point that COVID-19 has impacted our daily lives in some way, shape or form; Regardless of our background. As a writer of craft beer, I feel it is appropriate to address recent current events and how I think this’ll impact the industry going forward.

Never in a million years did I imagine that something like the situation we're in would arise. Yet here I am sitting in my living room at in my jammies writing this all whilst practicing the art of "social distancing."

Earlier this week, by order of the State of Minnesota, all bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries & restaurants are to be shutdown and only implement carryout and curbside delivery for things such as food, growlers & crowlers. From a safety point-of-view, I strongly feel these steps are necessary in order to halt & prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, not every brewery has the luxury of giving growlers & crowlers to go since current Minnesota State Laws don’t allow production breweries with an output of more than 20,000 barrels per year to sell. I know of a couple breweries that have lost revenue due to the loss of selling growlers & crowlers and now the closure of taprooms will not only impact them but also any other brewery whose main source of revenue is a taproom.

Now at the time or writing this, there are bills in place to remove the cap so larger breweries can go back to selling growlers. However, with the current events happening, there’s talk that the legislative session might be put off in order to mitigate the potential effects of COVID-19.

The point I’m trying to convey is that every brewery, regardless of size, will be impacted and the fallout of what has happened still remains to be seen. My biggest fear is that many smaller breweries that don’t have the luxury of widespread distribution will suffer greatly from this and those working for them will be out of a job. I’m hoping that it doesn’t come to this but the sad reality is that this might indeed happen. As someone who has been writing about craft beer for close to seven years, seeing the events that have unfolded have me at a loss for words.

So, what can you do to help?

As I mentioned earlier, many small breweries are offering curbside pickup for growlers and crowlers, so my advice would be to take advantage of this. Of course, there are some local breweries who are unable to provide this service so you can help by buying some of their offerings at a liquor store.

Obviously this caveat is to be taken with a grain of salt since I do not advise anyone who is feeling ill or at risk of contracting COVID-19 to go out. To repeat what countless health officials have stated: If you feel sick, stay at home!

Now if have decided to stay home for whatever reason, you can still help. Many craft breweries give you the option to purchase a gift card online, so if you do this, you're not only providing some revenue that they so desperately need, but you're also giving yourself a chance to visit a taproom. Think of it as a reward for yourself for flattening the curve, so to speak.

Mark my words, we will make it through this and once we do, we can go back to doing what we love the most. But for right now, hunker down at home, have a pint, and wait for this whole thing to blow over.

As always, thanks for reading. Also, be wash your hands y'all!

- Nick

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