MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Like their one-time taproom sales, local breweries are reporting a slight uptick of curbside and delivery orders on the weekends. They’ve come to realize the sales have become more than beer.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, breweries across the country have lost a bulk of their sales.
“Bars and restaurants have shut down which is tragic for them,” Wiseacre CEO Kellan Bartosch said. “That’s hurt our sales as well. Our taproom has been shut down effectively by that.”
Just as fast as the uncertainties circulated, breweries put a plan in place. Most started to offer delivery and pickup beer sales.
“We ask people to stay in their car,” Wiseacre Director of Hospitality Shelby Glass said. “We’ll drop the beer off. Just try to maintain enough space as possible.”
“It can’t replace the taproom revenue we’ve lost by having all our friends and regulars in every day, but it’s a lot,” Crosstown Brewing Company Co-Founder Clark Orkiese said. “ It’s more than people know.”
It didn’t take long of this strategy for breweries to find pickup and delivery sales, though less, mimicked taproom sales. There are more people buying beer on the weekends. So, as some breweries go into their third weekend of delivery they’ve found the beer orders are about more than the beverage itself.
“It’s the people who make up Wiseacre and it’s hard to explain but that kind of makes its way into the can,” Bartosch said.
“It’s their favorite beer and they’ll tell you the stories of why it’s their favorite beer and when they drank it for the first time. So, watching them do it has been really cool,” Ortkiese said.
Like businesses across the sector, times are still hard for breweries. Many had to furlough workers, like Crosstown Brewing Company, though Co-Founder Clark Ortkiese is hoping to tap into relief packages for his employees.
Wiseacre has offered taproom workers a bump in hourly wages since most of their earnings were tips, but everything is a daily reassessment.
“That’s the hard part. Our staff has a lot of questions and we have a lot of questions too,” Bartosch said.
For now, the brewers are going where the consumers are hopping to deliver some normalcy.
“The idea that Memphis would remember us with everything going on, it makes me really happy,” Glass said.