These are some strange times indeed.
Just two weeks ago, we were joking about “Corona” virus with friends and laughing about hysterical toilet paper hoarders.
Now we’re stuck in our homes, nearly every business is closed and flights are grounded. No one is laughing anymore.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday called for the closure of all bars, restaurants, coffee shops and other food and beverage services.
That includes breweries, distilleries and cideries.
In order to “flatten the curve,” help out the health care folks and save lives, this is the right thing to do. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to make for some difficult times for small businesses.
But don’t underestimate the creativity and business acumen of these folks. Crucible Brewing’s owner Shawn Dowling emailed me details about a Growler/Crowler to-go program, curbside pick-up options and even the ability for customers to text in an order and swing by to pick it up all without leaving their car.
“This is going to be a tough time for the industry, but I believe that we can weather the storm and all get through this together,” Dowling said.
Foggy Noggin owner Jim Jamison informed me that they’ll be postponing their 10th anniversary party originally scheduled for later this month, as well as the tasting event they had scheduled for this weekend. In the meantime, Jamison said they’ll be offering growler fills and bottles to go.
In The Shadow’s Cole Rinehardt said that Friday was one of the brewery’s busiest days since reopening last year, but that he’ll be closing his doors for now and offering growler fills to go.
“People want to get together and talk about it with their friends,” Rinehardt said. “They want to share their fears and concerns with each other, and a local brewery is a great spot to do just that.
“But it seems closure is the only real way to keep people apart. And I hate it.”
Here are some ways we can help keep these small businesses alive:
Grab a growler or crowler to go. Many of the small breweries in Snohomish County don’t bottle their product. So to help them keep their craft beer moving, if they allow, call them up, order a growler or crowler and pick it up at the brewery. They get a sale and you get delicious beer. Win-win.
Buy up their off-premise beer. Grocery stores remain open, so if you see a local brewery’s product on the shelves, buy it. That’s what I plan to do. No more out-of-region beer for me. I’m going to my local grocery store today and picking up Scuttlebutt, Diamond Knot or whatever other local brewery’s beer I can find.
Support them on social media. You might not be able to shake hands and congratulate a brewer on his creation, but you can send out some love on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Right now is a great time to share a picture of a beer you’re enjoying at home and tell the brewers how much you appreciate their work.
Buy gift certificates. For some breweries, stopping by for a beer or a to-go growler is impossible. But see if you can purchase a gift certificate. It infuses some cash in the business and gives you a goal to reach when this is all over.
Check www.heraldnet.com/hopsandsips for a list of Snohomish County breweries, distilleries and cideries that will be providing services during the COVID-19 outbreak.