Things are getting bleak. This isn’t my normal millennial sads bullshit bleakness. The world is getting pretty damn sad. As the world is reeling from the devastation caused by the novel coronavirus, and we don’t even know how bad it is going to get yet. The people who are hurting the most are the low-income service industry and retail workers who are in their stores day in and day out, trying to make sure everyone has their soup and toilet paper. Or worse, people like me, in the service industry, who lost their jobs.
Some of the hardest hit industries are our beloved craft beer and microbreweries that have had to close their taprooms, layoff their staff, and hope for the best. It breaks my heart to know that there are going to be breweries that don’t come out on the other end of this, but I want to just share some ideas and ways to support your local brewers during this challenging time.
One– Take out beer! A lot of breweries are. not. closed. You cannot sit in tap rooms and hangout with your friends over a pint, but what you can do is drop in and get a six-pack or growler to-go so you can go home and FaceTime with your friends while drinking a beer that you purchased directly from your local brewery.
Two– Gift cards! A great way to support your brewery today while being able to plan for a nice patio beer in July is gift cards. It’s not a gamble on the future, it’s a way to show your faith that we will live to come out on the other end of it. Buy gift cards for yourself and your friends and your neighbors. Plan your birthday parties and buy a gift card so that on your birthday you are delighted to find that past, sober you bought future, drunk you a $200 gift card to blow on craft beer and merchandise in six months! It’ll be the first time sober you ever got to surprise drunk you and not vice versa. I promise it’ll be worth it.
Three– Check for GoFundMes. A lot of tipped employees are out of work, and that sucks. I can say that because I am a tipped employee that is out of work. Many breweries recognize that they just cannot support their employees during these layoffs like they could if their employees were just working and have set up GoFundMes. Do what you can to contribute to your favorite breweries. Show your favorite beertenders and bartenders that you’re thinking of them by donating to campaigns to help keep them afloat while they’re out of work. Those people took good care of you during your hard days after work with a free beer, now it’s time to give back. Throw some extra cash their way. Help them out.
Four- Share. I know many of us, ourselves, aren’t exactly in a position right now to be spending extra money on beer and GoFundMes, but our friends might be. Share social media posts from breweries to get the word out that these places are OPEN FOR BUSINESS, even if it’s not in the traditional capacity that we think of when we think of craft beer and breweries. Let people know where they can be getting their beer during our social distancing and isolations.
Five– Ask. If you’re on social media and see your favorite local haunt is recommending ways to support them in this time, but you’re still not sure what to do. Ask. Shoot them a DM. Ask if it’s best to buy a beer or a gift card or to donate to a GoFundMe. See what they think the best way to support their businesses and staff is during this time. We are all in this together, my friends.
Due to my newfound unemployment and inability to pay my own rent, I’m going to be doing my best to social boost my favorite breweries around the city although I know I, myself, cannot exactly help them financially at the moment. And in honor of my beloved city of Milwaukee, below I’m going to signal boost some of my favorite hometown heroes because as much as Denver has grown on me, Milwaukee is a city that was built on beer and it’s been a hard fucking year for us.
MobCraft has a whole post on their website about how to help them out at this time. Also, it appears that they’ve began delivering pizza? And honestly, who in the Milwaukee-area wouldn’t love a pipin’ hot Hidden Kitchen Pizza delivered to their door by maybe even Henry Schwartz, of Shark Tank fame, himself? I’d say, keep ordering pizza (and tipping your delivery drivers!!) until Henry himself shows up. It’ll be like catching a rare Pokemon.
Third Space is asking for everyone to buy their beers either at your local distributors or they would love for you guys to buy a gift card online for the future. And trust me, ThirdSpace thrives in the summer. They have a huge, beautiful beer garden outside in the heart of the Menomonee River Valley. Trust me, it’s so beautiful that last year on my birthday (which is January 6th) we still sat outside and enjoyed it. In January. In Wisconsin.
Vennture Brewing is still open for carry out coffees (did you guys know they were also a coffee shop?!) and you can buy cans of beer to carry-out while you’re there too! They also did a great livestream with someone from Pilcrow the other day so that you can still get that great beertender/barista therapy in while you’re sitting at home, drinking alone (which doesn’t count during these trying times).
Component Brewing is also doing cans to-go. You can pre-order by phone. Check out their Instagram for more info but man, you know I love these guys. From the first day that I walked into that tap room I was in love and y’all know that I cannot say enough grossly mushy things about them. It’s truly a family affair over there, and we need to be there to support those guys. Buy their beer! Drink their beer! And I’m gonna stop on this topic before I start crying because I love and miss Bay View so much and I want these guys to stay apart of that community so much.
Dead Bird Brewing is closed for the weekend to assess where they’re at, but if/when they open up again on Monday, make sure you stop in for beers to go, gift cards, and food to carry out. They’re the new kids on the block around these parts, and man, this is such a devastating time to be out here with a fledgling brewery that has so much potential but the world is hellbent on killing all of us before it even has time to find it’s footing. Check their socials in the coming days/weeks to see how you can support them. They’re doing some great beer up in that neighborhood.
Of course, this isn’t even remotely close to the amount of breweries in this city that need our love and support and compassion during these times. And you might not even be in Milwaukee. Check out your own personal favorites and see how you can support them. Now, more than every, is the time to shop small.
The thing that has always drawn me to craft beer is the community over competition nature of the industry. We are all out here hoping that the other succeeds and now is the time to rally around each other and lift each other up. Stay safe everyone. Wash your goddamn hands. And drink local beer.