Oliver Gonzalez talks with Mara Funk at JP Trodden’s tasting room in Maltby. The distillery sent out an email notifying its customers that it is taking all precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Oliver Gonzalez talks with Mara Funk at JP Trodden’s tasting room in Maltby. The distillery sent out an email notifying its customers that it is taking all precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Breweries redouble cleaning regimens amid viral outbreak

Cleanliness is a big part of the beer-making process, and that’s more true than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brewers like to joke that the brewing process is 10% brewing and 90% cleaning. From cleaning kegs, spraying down mash tuns and squeegeeing floors, a brewer’s cleaning job can feel endless.

That dedication to cleanliness can be reassuring during a viral outbreak.

Like restaurants, breweries, distilleries and cideries in Snohomish County are finding their way through the COVID-19 outbreak. Some are canceling events, while others are soldiering on and taking extra precautions to disinfect their taprooms.

“We have added additional cleaning and sanitation to our normal cleaning lists,” Sound to Summit head brewer Adam Frantz said. “We are sanitizing door handles, backs of chairs, condiment caddies and many other surfaces that don’t regularly get sanitized.”

JP Trodden, a distillery in Maltby, sent out an email last weekend to notify its customers that it is taking all precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and that remains open for business. Countless breweries and distilleries are sending out similar missives.

Spada Farmhouse Brewery was curious if fear of the viral pandemic would affect its trivia night last Thursday, but was pleasantly surprised by a full house.

Not everyone is staying the course. Edmonds’ American Brewing rescheduled its anniversary party over the weekend, deciding to play it safe and heed the county’s recommendation to avoid large gatherings in small places. Marysville’s 5 Rights is pushing its first anniversary celebration, which was scheduled for March 21 and 22, to a later date to be determined.

“We’re not sure when as we will see how some of this stuff shakes out,” 5 Rights owner R.J. Whitlow said.

Breweries are small businesses that rely on a steady stream of customers to remain profitable. With tourism down, it can be vital that locals visit their neighborhood breweries and enjoy a beer. My guess is many big events will be delayed, but small gatherings like trivia nights seem reasonable to most folks. Just make sure to knock elbows instead of high-five when you win Pixar trivia at Crucible Brewing.

As for beer, you could do a lot worse for a beverage of choice during a viral outbreak.

“There is no known pathogen that can exist in beer, so it is one of the safest beverages there is,” Frantz said.

Pre-St. Patrick’s shindigs

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17, but you can enjoy Irish beer, grub, limericks and more this weekend.

On Whidbey Island, Double Bluff Brewing is hosting its fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day Fest March 13 and 14. There will be specially brewed Irish ales, including a red ale and stout made with sweet potatoes, live music and a limerick contest.

Scuttlebutt is hosting a Dirty Irish Brunch at noon on March 14 at its taproom and brewery location on Cedar Street. There will be green beer, beer pong, live music, an Irish food menu and more.

Brigid’s hosts fundraiser for marathoner

Edmonds’ Brigid’s Bottleshop is hosting a fundraiser from 5 to 9 p.m. on March 21 to help Armando Ortiz raise money to run in the Boston Marathon.

Ortiz, of Edmonds, will be running on behalf of Work Opportunities, a Lynnwood-based nonprofit that works to place those with disabilities into the workforce.

Tickets are $25 and includes food, a raffle ticket and a T-shirt. There will also be a silent auction.

For more information, go to tinyurl.com/RunToWork2020.

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