It’s Time to Focus on Drink Local
Yesterday, shortly after the Governor announced another round of COVID restrictions, Burwood Brewing used Facebook to very clearly state its plan for navigating the weeks ahead. The brewery in Walla Walla posted the above picture on Facebook along with a statement about how it will adjust its business to comply. As the rainbow suggests, it was a hopeful message. We don’t have to be happy, but at least we can be hopeful.
My fellow beer lovers, in a nutshell, it’s time to drink local. Very local. Yesterday Governor Inslee announced a one-month plan to help curb the rising tide of COVID cases in Washington. Below, I share information from the Washington Brewers Guild regarding the new restrictions and requirements and how they impact breweries, but first…
For consumers, I think the most important thing to consider is that your local breweries need your support now more than ever. This is especially true of breweries that are not established in distribution chains and rely heavily on your direct patronage at their taprooms.
Familiarize yourself with your favorite brewery’s plan. Does it have outdoor seating? (See our list, we are doing our best to keep it accurate). Will it offer to-go sales? Curbside pickup? Is it delivering or shipping beer? Seek them out on social media and keep watching as they announce and adjust their plans in the weeks to come. If they do not communicate clearly via those channels, reach out to them. Remind them that they should.
Get it From the Source
It is great that so many breweries have scrambled and started packaging beer in cans, crowlers, and bottles during the COVID pandemic, and it’s cool to see so many new beers on the grocery store shelves, but buying a brewery’s beer at the store is different than buying it directly from the brewery itself. If nothing else, the profit margin is higher when they sell direct to consumers. Many breweries rely on direct sales, whether by the pint or in cans and crowlers to go.
Below, the message from the Washington Brewers Guild regarding the Governor’s announcement and his latest COVID plan:
What it Means for Breweries
Here’s what it means for breweries. The same restrictions will apply to restaurants, wineries, distilleries, taverns, and other liquor licensees.
Effective November 18th – December 14th:
- Indoor on-premise service is prohibited
- Outdoor on-premise service is allowed at 50% occupancy
- Table party size for outdoor service no larger than 5
- Any tenting or temporary or permanent outdoor structures must meet Safe Start guidance, which currently requires structures/tents to have no more than two walls
- To-go, curbside, and delivery sales are allowed
Other measures in today’s order go into effect Monday, November 15th and include a ban on indoor social gatherings, a reduction in occupancy for grocery store and retail (25%), closing of gyms, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and more.
Governor Inslee also announced a plan to distribute $50 million in grants and loans to Washington businesses that have been economically harmed by the pandemic and pandemic related restrictions. He indicated that the funding is in-hand and details on the mechanism for distributing the funds are still in the works. We will be working with his office and the Department of Commerce to ensure breweries have access to this funding. More to come.
You can read more about the order, here.
Below, you’ll find info on deliveries, direct to consumer sales and shipping, tenting, unemployment resources for employers and employees, mental health resources, and hospitality employee relief.
We’ll be working to get you relief and make sure breweries voices are heard. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us- we are here to support you.
Breweries can deliver packaged beer, growlers, crowlers, and kegs. Deliveries must be made in compliance with the rules found here.
If you plan to use a third-party processing or delivery service, make sure it’s one of the LCB’s approved vendors, found here.
Direct to Consumer Sales and Shipping:
Breweries take orders via the internet, phone, or at the brewery and ship beer direct to consumers residing in WA.
Important note: state shipping laws vary from state to state. If you’re shipping out of state, you’ll need to check with that state’s liquor regulator to learn about their direct to consumer laws.
Last week, we hosted a Base Camp session on direct to consumer sales and shipping. You can watch the replay here.
Adding or Extending Outdoor Service/ Tenting Webinar:
You can find info on adding or extending outdoor service areas, here.
Last week, the WA Hospitality Association hosted a webinar on outdoor seating guidance and tenting. You can view the replay, here.
Unemployment FAQs for Employers and Employees:
WA unemployment resources for employers can be found here.
WA unemployment resources for employees can be found here.
Mental Health Resources:
This is a lot. Resources for crisis support and advice on self-care can be found here.
Hospitality Employee Relief Resources:
Information on grants and relief efforts for hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19, here.