I recently conducted a survey to see what Washington’s beer-loving public thinks about the upcoming reopening of businesses. Specifically, what people think about the “phase 2” reopening of brewery taprooms and brewpubs, which has now begun in less-populated counties and could go statewide on June 1st. Basically, I wanted to know how you feel about your favorite taprooms reopening. This endeavor is Washington-specific, focusing on Washington’s plans and targeting local consumers.
- This report is based on the first 1,100 responses.
- The survey ran here on the Washington Beer Blog. We drove people to the survey using our social media channels: Facebook (Washington Beer Blog page), Twitter, and Instagram.
- The basic requirements of Phase 2 were spelled out in advance for those taking the survey (50% capacity, the 6-foot rule, no bar seating, no groups larger than five people, etc).
- Demographics, based on all people who visited the survey page:
- 58/42 percent Male/Female.
- Age: The largest segment of respondents were age 25-34 (30%), followed by ages 35-44 (21%), and age 45-54 (17%).
- Over 98 percent of the respondents said they live in Washington. Analytics show that the largest majority of people who viewed the survey page (approx. 60%) were located in the Greater Seattle MSA (metropolitan statistical area), which includes the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett corridor. The Greater Seattle MSA accounts for over 50% of Washington’s overall population.
Here are the results based on the first 1,100 respondents:
QUESTION: Considering the restrictions and requirements, how likely are you to visit brewery taprooms or bars during Phase 2? (To sit down/stay for a drink and/or meal.)
- 38 percent of respondents said it is very likely they will visit a brewery taproom once they’re allowed to reopen.
- 17 percent of respondents said they are likely to visit.
- 24 percent of respondents said they are unsure.
- 21 percent said they are very unlikely to visit.
QUESTION: During phase two of the reopening, I intend to visit taprooms and bars…
- 27 percent of respondents said they intend to visit brewery taprooms at least as often as they did before the shutdowns took effect.
- 24 percent said that they will visit, but not as often as they did before.
- 37 percent said they are undecided and will wait to see how it feels.
- 12 percent said they will not visit at all.
QUESTION: Would any of the following make you more comfortable when visiting a brewery taproom or bar during Phase 2? (select all/any that apply.)
Some of the things we offered in our survey ended up being on the official list of requirements issued by the state. Things like masks and access to hand sanitizer, ended up being requirements.
83% – Outdoor seating options.
73% – Sanitization procedures for tables, seats.
67% – Hand santizer stations for customers.
57% – Touch-free check-out process.
54% – Controlled traffic flow.
46% – Employees required to wear masks.
36% – No children.
35% – Customers required to wear masks when not seated at tables.
20 % – Bar service only (step to bar, buy beer, return to seat)
19% – Table service (no need to order from, pay at, the bar)
14% – No dogs.
13.5% – None of this matters. I just want things back the way they were.
FINAL QUESTION – Not a question but an option to share other thoughts.
Finally, our survey gave people the opportunity to make any other suggestions about what would make them feel more comfortable. Only about 200 of the 1,100 respondents left comments. Most of them involved practices and precautions already addressed by the state. Things like monitoring employees for wellness, making sure customers wear masks when not seated at their tables, enforcing the rules, and so on.
A recurring theme among the respondents, many people commented about how they wanted the brewery to ensure that people did not come to work if they are showing any signs of illness. More directly, several people mentioned that employees should not feel like they need to work, regardless of illness, in order to get paid.
Another recurring theme involved a reservation system. It seems people are worried that they will show up at the taproom and not be able to get a seat. These concerns were best summed up by this response: “it will be difficult for many of us to get in if there isn’t regular turnover and groups or couples are there half of the day. That will make it frustrating for many.”
Many people expressed a desire for breweries to continue offering to-go orders and curbside pickup, noting that they’d like to see a separate line or some other way to accommodate those who just want to grab-n-go.
Several people also mentioned the need to keep restrooms especially clean and sanitized.
Finally, looking at the string of comments, it is clear that people want visibility into what is being done. They want breweries to clearly post on social media what they’re doing. They want signage at the taproom instructing people how to behave and explaining what precautions are being taken.
Beyond that, there were all sorts of different ideas mentioned by the respondents. Also, some politically inspired commentary, as you’d expect.