Local breweries adjust to Gov.'s statewide stay-at-home order
As the saying goes, "Sometimes, life throws you a curveball."
And all of America — and the world — has been thrown some serious heat over the last two months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
This column is no different. As we set out to write it this week and update you on how our local breweries were continuing to deal with the restrictions placed on them by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the governor tossed all of Florida a slider — low and away — on Wednesday afternoon.
So what does that mean for our area breweries, whom we told you — in this very column two weeks ago — had already switched exclusively to online ordering and curbside pickup?
Well, not long after the governor's executive order was issued, we reached out to all four of Tallahassee's craft breweries. And while their reactions varied, each discussed what their plans were going forward:
Ology Brewing owner Nick Walker
"Our understanding is that the state mandate allows us to continue safely supplying beer to our community through our curbside pickup system. We will continue canning and crowlering beers to facilitate this. We are also launching our bulk hand sanitizer pre-order page, where individuals can order one-gallon buckets of hand sanitizer to stock their households."
(NOTE: Ology was the first Tallahassee brewery to release its own brand of hand sanitizer two weeks ago in response to the pandemic. The sanitizer is being made by Ology's recently launched planned-distillery, Ology Distilling. Ology's online ordering website is: ologybrewing.com).
Proof Brewing Co-owner Byron Burroughs
"This pandemic and state-wide shutdown has significantly impacted our company with an 80% immediate reduction in revenue. Almost every business that’s closed by government mandate affects us. From distributors, bars, restaurants, to hotels — everyone stops buying as much beer. Our only revenue outlet is restricted to retail package stores — like grocery chains — or online ordering and curbside pickup. When your business is impacted to such an extreme, you must look at other outlets to keep yourself afloat and adapt your business model. That’s why we’re excited to ramp up the production of our hand sanitizer."
(NOTE: Proof also released its own brand of hand sanitizer last week and is giving away a bottle with every purchase, as well as donating a bottle to a local nonprofit of each customer's choice. Proof now plans to ramp up production of that sanitizer and begin selling it as well starting Friday. Proof's online ordering website is: proofbrewingco.com).
Deep Brewing owner Ryan Lapete
"We are happy to hear the the state is elevating both awareness and action to slow the spread and limit the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deep is currently operating with vigilant attention to detail in sanitation and preparation of our to-go options and will continue to provide curbside pickup as an option for those gathering supplies from neighboring businesses for their stay-at-home activities. The more normalcy we can provide to everyone at home, the easier the next few weeks will seem."
(NOTE: Deep's online ordering website is: pickup.deepbrewing.com)
Lake Tribe Brewing Operations manager Tyler Yorski
"Lake Tribe will continue to do its best to best serve Tallahassee and the community as safely as we can until the threat of COVID-19 settles. We will continue to sell packaged beer in cans, growlers, and kegs to-go until normal socialization returns to our city, state, country. We are looking forward to society returning to health and enjoying your company and seeing friendly faces at the taproom and around town soon."
(NOTE: Lake Tribe's online ordering website is: laketribebrewing.square.site)
Updates on other Big Bend breweries
Our other area breweries have all switched to online sales, except for Eastpoint Beer Company, which announced on its Facebook page two weeks ago it would be closing temporarily during the pandemic to do some upgrades and remodeling to the brewery space.
But in true "craft-community over competition" form, they encouraged everyone in that post to visit their neighboring Franklin County brewery, Oyster City Brewing Company, while Eastpoint was closed. But then Thursday morning, Oyster City also announced it was closing its online sales and curbside pick up for the time being, meaning both Forgotten Coast craft breweries were halting operations temporarily as a result of the pandemic.
Brewery-in-planning, Fools Fire Brewing — which is located next to Fermentation Lounge in the All Saints District — is still planning to open soon. In the meantime, you can purchase Fools Fire beer — as well as a wide range of other craft beers from around the state and country — at their online ordering website: fermentation-lounge.square.site.
The final note is on another brewery-in-planning, Southern Fields Brewing in Campbellton, which was slated to open sometime in March. But as the concern over the coronavirus pandemic began to grow, they postponed the opening and issued the following statement on their social media pages March 19: "We’ve had to postpone the open date — however that gives us more time to brew some killer beer. We’re just making lemons out of lemonade and beer out of a bad situation."
That's gonna do it for this week, everyone. Until next time, stay safe, stay 6 feet apart and — if possible — stay home!
Danny Aller is the co-founder of the TLH Beer Society, a group of avid craft beer lovers. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.