Assisting with Survival
At the time of drafting this column, stay-at-home guidelines were still in place. Many of you continue your support for restaurants, pubs, breweries and bars via their to-go sales options. Via shipping, delivery and onsite purchase to-go options, breweries that have been able to remain open continue trying to make it through sales of kegs, growlers, crowlers, six packs, four packs, merchandise and certificates, hopeful that an end to this craziness is near. Your continued support is overwhelmingly appreciated by these businesses. In addition to regulatory relief, postponements of excise tax reporting and relief have been received both on a state and federal level.
With overall sales at only a fraction of what they were just a couple of months ago, coupled with the fact that social gatherings are not currently allowed, the groups that support our breweries on a local, state and national level are also feeling the crunch. Brewers guilds and associations are dependent on their member-brewers and fundraising events for the income necessary to keep them running.The current crisis has required cancelling and/or postponement of many festivals and events.
The Los Angeles County Brewers Guild supports over 90 L.A. County independent breweries. Having already cancelled the annual N’owt but Stout Festival at Yorkshire Square Brewery, the Guild announced in late April that the 12th Annual L.A. Beer Week and associated opening fest, set for late June, was being postponed. The LABG works to protect the craft beer industry through efforts to support its members and to promote the L.A. craft beer community through education and events. Relying heavily on revenue from its major events to survive, postponement of L.A. Beer Week and cancellation of several partner events is obviously delivering a major hit to the nonprofit. In an effort to survive during the crisis, LABG has launched pre-sales for “I Heart L.A. Beer” shirts and hoodies, and has re-launched a simplified version of the Guild’s “Enthusiast Memberships” (https://labrewersguild.org/). On the Guild’s site you will also see the “Beer It Forward” campaign, a virtual tip jar where you can support the effort for as little as $1.
To assist area breweries, the LABG has also enhanced its website with a tab listing the L.A. area breweries currently offering pick-up and delivery options, along with hours, services and how to order (https://labrewersguild.org/labeernow/).
In spite of having to postpone and cancel many of its own lifeblood events, San Clemente-based Brew Ha Ha Productions launched efforts in late March to raise funds, not for itself, but for the benefit of the Orange County Brewers Guild.
First presented were “DRINK LOCAL STAYHOME #CORONAVIRUSSUCKS” t-shirts and hoodies. 100% of net profits from sale of these items will be donated to the Orange County Brewers Guild to provide relief to local craft breweries. Phase 2 followed on April 10th with an additional “DON’T LET LOCAL BRWERIES GO EXTINCT #DRINKLOCAL” hoodie.
The OCBG is also supporting local member breweries in their business saving/ maintaining efforts. A “CURRENT BREWERY STATUSES” link has been added to the home page of https://ocbrewers.org/ website. It will bring you to a spreadsheet showing the current status of OC craft breweries, along with ordering links, hours of operation and additional details.
To assist the Central Coast public with supporting its member brewers, the Central Coast Brewers Guild has also provided a page on its website (www.centralcoastbrewersguild.com/ccbg-takeout-delivery). It shows the breweries offering to-go and delivery options, and provides links to the brewery ordering pages.
The CCBG’s Central Coast Craft Beer Festival originally scheduled for March 28th was postponed to June 20th. There were no new updates prior to press time.
Join the Efforts
COVID-19 has affected most of us, personally and financially. If you are able to, please continue to assist in efforts to support our local businesses and breweries via purchases of food, beer, gift cards and merchandise, or via the various Guild and brewery fundraisers noted above and in my last column. Any financial help brewers receive today will aid in their continuance after this mess is behind us.