PHOENIX — The craft brewery scene across Arizona has exploded over the last 10 years or so. However, the new restrictions on bars and restaurants during the coronavirus outbreak have forced them all into unprecedented territory.
Many breweries, just like other restaurants across the Valley, have been forced to cut staff or close their doors completely.
OHSO Brewery has closed some of its Valley locations, for example, but is still serving carry-out food and alcohol at its Gilbert and Arcadia restaurants. Others like Helluva Brewery in Chandler have completely closed their doors for the time being.
Many breweries still open are not filling reusable growlers that customers would typically bring from home due to the possibility of contamination, but will fill new ones that you can buy in person along with selling canned beers.
Rob Fullmer is the Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. He says that while you only interact with a handful of workers on a typical trip to a brewery, the staff is much larger than it seems.
“If you go to a restaurant that has quite a few tables, there’s people behind the scenes," Fullmer said. "Some of our bigger restaurants have 200 or 300 employees and they’re either laid off or furloughed until we can ramp up this delivery service model.”
So what can you do to support those breweries (and other restaurants) that are still open?
Fullmer says the best thing to do is to try to keep your routine as normal as possible while remaining safe. He says to check social media or call ahead to find out what menu items a location is able to serve to go or even by delivery.
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Breweries are also doing a great job of updating their social media accounts notifying people of new hours. The Beer Research Institute in Mesa even says that if you come in to grab food or beer to go, you can take home a gallon of water if your family needs it.
“Your restaurant should have a menu similar to what they had when you could go in,” Fullmer said. “If they have alcoholic beverages on the menu they are able to provide those to you in sealed containers to go.”
He even suggested getting carry-out food and having a Skype hangout with a friend that you’d normally grab lunch or dinner with.
“If you went out and got nachos and got your favorite beer somewhere, you can still do that you just have to pick it up, said Fullmer via a Skype interview. “And then maybe you can do a camera thing like this with your friends. We want people to continue to do those things in a safe and structured way.”
Jon Lane, the owner of @ohsobrewery says he's doing everything he can to let people know their Arcadia and Gilbert locations are still open for carryout food and beer to go. Even standing outside his own restaurant holding signs! STORY: https://t.co/MXSjWDA1qp #abc15 pic.twitter.com/DPEMH6heb1— clayton klapper (@claytonklapper) March 22, 2020
He says that as word of mouth spreads that breweries and other restaurants are ramping up delivery and to go services, the hope is that some of those employees at home will be able to get back to work.
“I think what people need to understand is that these restaurants and bars are completely shifting their business model because we want to take care of Arizona and there are going to be some hiccups and some things that we’re going to want to do better,” Fullmer said. “But we’re all unified in making sure that Arizona is safe and that we get through this. We do it because we love people and we love Arizona.”
OTHER WAYS TO HELP:
Consider buying gift cards for future Christmas/birthday gifts, or to use down the road yourself when things return to normal. You could also purchase merchandise like T-shirts, pint glasses, etc that will help support the local breweries and restaurants while they see less traffic.
We're Open, Arizona: We know this is a tough time for a lot of people in our community, including local restaurants and businesses. As local spots continue to serve takeout, look for ways to safely do business, and give back to our community, we want to share their stories. Visit abc15.com/open or email us at OpenInAZ@abc15.com.