6 Ways to Support Local Breweries During COVID-19

With taprooms closed until May 4, Minnesota breweries need your support now more than ever
Friends enjoying a beer at Indeed Brewing Co., one of many Minnesota breweries
A quick flashback to when we could meet up and grab a beer with friends at the drop of a hat. We’ll never take it for granted again!

Courtesy the creative team at Indeed Brewing Co.

I’ll be honest—when the first COVID-19 case was announced in Minnesota, I was naïve enough to think that the health crisis wasn’t going affect me. I have a career in publishing and I serve beer on weekends. These two professions couldn’t be farther from the medical and health industries (although, sometimes a pint of beer is a pretty good remedy).

My naivety was quickly shot down when I got the email. Alongside thousands of other servers, cooks, hosts, beertenders, and bartenders, I found out that I had been temporarily laid off from my beertending position at Broken Clock Brewing Co-Op.

Minnesota breweries
The Broken Clock beertending and operations team last summer

After a brief stint of shock, the thoughts started to race. How long was this going to last? How was the brewery going to keep up revenue without the taproom? What’s going to happen to my many friends who work at the brewery full-time? These hard questions are being asked at every Minnesota brewery, no matter how big or small.

Thankfully, Minnesota breweries have been declared essential businesses, which allow brewers and production employees to continue making the local beer we love so much. Breweries can also continue to fulfill any off-sale purchases out of their taproom if they choose to do so. However, their effort and success are contingent upon us stepping up, even if it’s at a distance. Your favorite brewery hangouts need your love more than ever—below are six easy ways to support Minnesota breweries.

 

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 1. Buy less domestic beer and grab a local option instead.

In-house tastings are currently a thing of the past, but I still urge you to make the leap and try something new and local. Grain Belt, Bud Light, Coors Light, and even Corona will still be here when the world turns right side up again. When you’re choosing beverages at your local liquor store (which has been declared an essential business, despite fears that it wouldn’t), take a look at crowlers from local breweries. If you need help sifting through the options, ask an employee for recommendations. If you’re feeling really ambitious, purchase a few options and host your very own tasting from the comfort of your own home. (Check your local liquor store for more information about delivery zones and curbside pickup).

2. Purchase some merch and wear it with pride!

If you’ve been holding out on buying any brewery merch, this is your sign. Much like staying home now makes you an outstanding civilian, buying brewery merch makes you an unsung hero. Plus, you obviously need one more comfy sweatshirt to wear around the house, and a new long-sleeved shirt or flannel is the perfect attire for a walk in this brisk spring weather. Most importantly, buying merch is a great way to bring money into a taproom (it also lasts longer than your growler or crowler will). Many breweries have upped their online shopping game since the onset of COVID-19, so you can check out merch options on the website then head over to the brewery if you see something you like.

 

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 3. Buy straight from the taproom and opt for curbside pick-up or delivery.

If you know exactly what kind of beer you want this week, you can always order online and opt for curbside pick-up. If you’re feeling sick or if you’re still riding out a mandated quarantine, see what options breweries in your area have for delivery. Some offer a 5-mile delivery zone, while others will delivery throughout all of the Twin Cities after a certain amount of money is spent. Check out Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild‘s social media for a map detailing which breweries offer delivery services.

 

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 4. Show them some love on social media.

A share, like, or comment takes just a few seconds of your time, but for local businesses, it means the world. Whether you want to thank a brewery for its fantastic beer and service, or you want to share a brewery’s awesome response to COVID-19 (like Falling Knife Brewing Co. giving away free crowlers to those in the service industry), a little love on Facebook and Instagram goes a long way.

 

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5. Buy a gift card, then send it to a friend.

Not only is this an easy way to support a brewery, but paired with a sweet message, it makes for a nice little pick-me-up for a friend. One could say that social distancing makes the heart grow fonder—for beer and friends.

6. Check in on your beertender, bartender, and server friends.

Last but not least, make sure you check in with your friends in the service industry. It’s a rough time to have a career built around serving others. But soon enough your favorite beertenders will be serving you from behind the bar like usual, and you’ll be enjoying a pint out on the patio with friends.

 

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