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Brewery taprooms, events suspended nationwide as COVID-19 cases grow

COVID-19 Headliner

America’s 8,000+ breweries are quite popular places to gather with friends. Last week, we were flooded with emails from breweries outlining their enhanced sanitation efforts in order to keep their guests safe.

The next steps were inevitable – full taproom closures.

Last evening, California Governor Gavin Newsome requested that breweries, brewpubs, wineries, and bars close at the end of business hours on Sunday night, March 15th.

According to the California Craft Brewer’s Association, this is how breweries will operate after the mandatory shut down:

  • Breweries are NOT required to stop production or cease off-site sales. Breweries are still allowed to continue to manufacture beer, self-distribute beer, conduct off-site sales (to-go orders from the brewery) and deliver beer direct-to-consumers.
  • While the Governor used the term “brewpub” to broadly describe breweries with on-site sales, he was likely referring to breweries with only a tasting room. “Brewpubs” are breweries with restaurants.
  • While we are s­till seeking clarity, based on the recommendations of the Governor regarding restaurant operations, CCBA’s understanding is that brewpubs will be allowed to stay open with the directive to maintain “deep social distance” between patrons and reduce capacity by 50 percent to accommodate this.

Since the announcement, The Bruery will only be open for online beer order fulfillment and orders to-go.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced a temporary statewide order to shut down restaurants, bars, entertainment, and recreational facilities statewide due to the coronavirus. Restaurants can only operate in take-out, grab and go, and delivery capacities. Kent, Washington based Airways Brewing’s Bistro & Beer Garden is now only open for to-go orders.

New York City’s bars, theaters, and concert halls are officially closing, with restaurants going to to-go and delivery only.

Illinois, Ohio, Washington, and Massachusetts are also closing bars, restaurants, and theaters. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has closed all bars and restaurants for at least a month, excluding takeout and delivery.

All taprooms in Connecticut are closed until further notice, only selling crowlers and beer to-go.

Other prominent breweries are making business changes at least in the short term. Boston Beer has closed their taprooms and tour centers for a week. Dogfish Head, which is also part of Boston Beer, has canceled all events for the month of March, as well as closed their retail locations for seven days.

Colorado’s Avery Brewing announced today that they have closed their taproom and restaurant until April 5th, which might be subject to change.

Modern Times, Almanac Beer Co, pFriem Family Brewers, Map Brewing, Terrapin Beer Company, Jackalope Brewing, Yards Brewing, Bozeman Brewing, Ratio Brewworks, Brewers Art, Ardent Craft Ales, Virginia Beer Company, Interboro Brewing, Treehouse Brewing, Phillipsburg Brewing, and Port City Brewing have also closed their on-premise locations, only staffing for to-go beer purchases.

Founders Brewing has closed both their taprooms and will continue to pay their employees during the shutdown.

Some of the largest beer releases/festivals across the U.S. are postponing or canceling their events completely. This past weekend’s Hunaphu Day at Cigar City was completely scrapped, bottle pick up extending until June.

The Craft Brewer’s Conference that was to be held in San Antonio, Texas in April has been canceled, as well as Firestone Walker’s from May 2020 to June of 2021.

Ed Note: We at Beer Street Journal want to keep our thoughts and prayers with families affected by COVID-19, either through illness or loss in income through these quarantine requirements. It is important that we keep in mind that this is a very short period in our lives that will be affected by these closures as opposed to the lifetime effect of a lost family member or friend from contracting COVID-19.  Please keep this in mind and follow all guidelines recommended by the experts leading us through this crisis.

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