The virus is still here. It’s out there in places we know and places we don’t. If we let our guard down for a moment, forget that it’s supposed to be an all-consuming factor in the way we live, work and play right now, and it will remind us.
The virus is not something that I have cared to focus on in any of the writing I do. Sure, I’ve proudly covered the stories of the people, places and brands that have done heroes work in making the best of really trying circumstances.
Yet, as we head to the end of a year everyone wants desperately to move on from, I thought it might be time to at least give the devil its due, so to speak. At this moment, as we wrap up another issue, I thought it might be time.
Here, in the Atlanta suburbs I call home, most of the breweries that define the Southeast’s craft beer scene are surviving the best they can. They did what all great entrepreneurs do when their backs are forced against the wall—adapt. Their taprooms became outdoor-seating type venues. They offered curbside pickup options. They partnered with local restaurants.
According to the Brewers Association, 81% of its members say they are “very confident” about their ability to still be in business by the end of 2020.
But now winter is here. And the virus doesn’t particularly care that in many parts of the country it’s too cold for outdoor seating. And in other states, some have decided that regardless of how they can accommodate what little people they can serve, it’s just not safe.
And so here we are trying to figure out how to do the impossible again. But here’s the thing about the craft beer community—it is resilient. According to the Brewers Association, 81% of its members say they are “very confident” about their ability to still be in business by the end of 2020. Asked whether they would be around a year from now, 54% said they would.
Overall, 22%—or more than one if five of all craft brewers (and there are 8,300 currently in operation around the country)—don’t believe they’ll be in business by the end of 2021.
What do we do? What can we do? No industry, especially ones depended on people engaging with people, is immune to the havoc that this pandemic has wrought on our psyche.
As we move forward, we will continue to profile the people who not only are doing what they love and doing it well, but also providing so many of us with one of the things we love the most. Beer? Yes. But also passion. That’s what we all strive to achieve.
Here’s to all of you. Here’s to the resilience each of you continue to find. Here’s to the craft spirit way of life.