As we cruise toward the end of 2020, arguably the most challenging year in recent memory, we once again join our industry friends and partners in navigating restrictive government measures set forth to curb the spread of the coronavirus. While we understand why these rules are now in effect, we can't help but feel frustrated as our industry gets another kick in the pants when we all need the revenue most, heading into historically-slow January.
In case you've not been to our shop in a little while, we took out a sizable loan in October, 2019 that provided funding to renovate our space and increase production capacity by eight times. $250,000 worth of equipment was being rolled off a truck during the early stages of COVID, with an "eventful" spring and summer to follow regarding coronavirus worries and 25% capacity rules. We had some fun over the summer, made some money (nowhere near projections and with a decent amount of debt now over our heads), and made some of the best beers yet.
We weren't alone in this - our friends and neighbors talked to us about having a good summer/fall season. While we all look forward to this pandemic ending, we were all making it through day-by-day. The continued generosity and understanding of our Erie customer base got us through it no doubt. Without their support our collective summer would've been a disaster. (The weather was perfect too!)
Fast forward to December. Man, we were rolling along. We had a great Thanksgiving week (with a surprise, uber-concise restriction on Thanksgiving Eve, if you recall), and were headed to the end of the year in grand fashion. Good beers, holiday gifts, and the like were all coming around.
Then just last week we were ordered to head back to Yellow phase-style restrictions: dine-in service was to cease until January 4th, carry-out and outdoor seating would still be available. The roller coaster ride continues as we all attempt to not sink heading into 2021.
Where the rubber meets the road
As the holiday season rapidly comes to a close, I'll speak for all local Erie businesses inside and out of our immediate industry - BUY LOCAL STUFF. It's very possible that with a cold winter coming, and a dim outlook on first quarter already in our projections, a lot of Erie businesses won't make it out of this alive. Sure, there's a vaccine headed our way, which is great news. But the majority of our friends and neighbors won't get it for a while, and even when they do get it, their consumer confidence will have been so shaken it's possible it won't matter. We've all fought tooth and nail to get this far, it feels like there's this one last hill to overcome and we can keep on fighting the good fight.
Keep your neighbors' businesses alive - buy gift cards to use later. Purchase something through a local business' website and let them ship it to you, or call ahead for curbside pick-up. Schedule delivery of their products if they offer that service. It really, really matters, because you have the power to vote with your dollars. All local businesses need your vote to survive the winter.
The rest of 2020 looks like this for us at EAW:
- Taproom hours have changed to: Thursday - Friday: 3:00pm - 8:00pm, Saturday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Each Wednesday through 2020, we'll pop up at Like My Thai from 5:00pm - 9:00pm
- We team up with Radius CoWork for a Virtual Festivus on December 23rd, complete with an online airing of grievances, a wonderful Festivus pole, and feats of strength
- New merch is showing up soon, zip up hoodies and beanies to keep you warm
- Wednesday, December 30th we're teaming up with Give a Crepe and Tipsy Bean for a December Take-out Dinner that'll knock your socks off
We're all working to keep cool stuff is in the works like usual, so please consider your local businesses if you've not purchased gifts, or better yet, want to purchase MORE gifts for your friends and family. Thanks for being cool, we all really appreciate it!