This room smells like hotel illness
The scars I hide are now your business
I can’t seem to make hair nor hide of this
No baby love is not a punishment—The Black Crowes
The Coronavirus is attacking more than our immune systems. A disease characterized as a severe acute respiratory syndrome that attacks our lungs and squeezes our chests as we struggle to access enough oxygen to flow through our bodies, coronavirus is slowly suffocating the craft beer industry. It is lingering over us like a thick fog, dampening the inside of our skin with sticky half-truths. It has left murky, muddy tracks along the sloppy banks of the unimaginable. This disease is an uninvited guest, interrupting our conversations, insisting on being noticed; loudly. He is crushing his cigarette out on our new furniture, blowing curls of smoke in our face, that fade into our lungs like broken smiles and dreams. No matter how terse we become in our declarations that he is unwelcome, he stays.
Craft beer breweries are largely small batch establishments that rely heavily on on-site sales and community engagement is seeing their bottom lines shrink like a sick moon on a wholesome morning. Craft beer is more than the beverage, it is the shared space we gather in and hold conversation and form experiences. This disease has increased the distance between us. Breweries are being forced to shut down the common areas we gather in and have become reliant on providing to-go options only, which is having an enormous impact on our favorite watering-holes ability to stay solvent.
The Front Lines
A spokesperson for Peticolas Brewing Company stated that “I hate to say it…I personally suspect we’ll see sweeping closures across North Texas (and elsewhere).”
Erica Healey, Co-owner of American Solera pointed out that “Our sales are way down and (we are) unsure how much longer we will be able to stay open. Just doing what we can.” American Solera is working hard to put together packages for to-go sales.
Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King shared similar concerns, noting that Jester King relies heavily on the engagement of craft beer fans traveling to the brewery for on-site sales. Jeffrey Stuffings offered optimism “We hope to withstand any decline in business this may bring by conscientiously following these measures and keeping the spirit of Jester King alive in these challenging times… We want Jester King to continue being a place to get away from the stresses we endure each week to gather over world-class food and beer with friends and family.”
Small batch breweries like American Solera and Jester King, who largely rely on barrel aging as the major force to their brewing process, can only produce in small batches making the success of their business reliant on turn out and enthusiasm over their latest offerings. Jester King preaches a philosophy built on “time and place” celebrating the fact that their beers are best experienced with the Jester King community at the location where the beer was created.
Scott Metzger, General Manager Wormtown Brewery and noted beer advocate, tweeted a daunting warning “Some of your favorite breweries aren’t going to survive this. Make your peace with them while you have a chance.”
The bartenders at the taprooms of our favorite breweries are being impacted significantly as their roles have become increasingly expendable. Breweries like Turning Point Beer have increased to-go sales by 15% to set aside for service employees. American Solera is asking for donations to help aid their service workers.
We can help by continuing to buy beer. Patronizing our local breweries with their to-go and delivery services. Buy their gear. Join their memberships if they are open. Buy gift cards. Register for their newsletter to be informed of their process and how you can help and most importantly keep the intimate spirit of craft beer alive and sustainable. Jester King has encouraged patrons through their newsletter to contribute to the Southern Smoke Foundation which provides funding to those who own or are employed by restaurants and bars or by a restaurant or bar supplier that are facing unforeseen challenges to their industry.
Family of Choice
Family isn’t about who you carry in your veins, but who you carry with you. Who you show up for. It is those who can gracefully join a story without becoming the center of it. Those who can contribute to it without shouting over it. They can hold space without overcrowding it. These are the people whose eyes we look into when we can’t find our goodness. They are part human; part angel whose arrival disrupts every limited notion of integrity we’ve heretofore know. Our craft beer family of choice needs us. We can form a salve from the mud smudged inside our cocoon. There is no need to wait for a perfect offering, your broken one will do just find. Lets fill the air between us.
Stay updated on the comings and goings of your local breweries with our Facebook page. We will diligently keep you up to speed with what’s available and where you can purchase. Cheers.