The COVID-19 pandemic is drowning the nation’s craft beer industry.
Breweries are having to adapt by furloughing or laying off employees, shutting down taprooms and only offering beer to-go.
I always expected the ever-chugging climb of the craft beer industry to slow down eventually, but never did I expect it to arrive at a complete halt.
Despite these dark times, many Georgia craft breweries have found ways to help each other and their surrounding communities even with devastating hits to business.
Let’s take a well-deserved break from all of the despair surrounding the outbreak and catch a glimpse at the positive efforts taking place in a handful of Georgia breweries. I know my list doesn’t capture all of those who have stepped up recently, but I hope your spirits are lifted to see that craft breweries are in this fight together.
Akademia Brewing Co.
To feed those less fortunate, Akademia Brewing Co. has teamed up with the nonprofit, BottleShare, to form the outreach program, Think We Not Me, which aims to feed the needy in the Athens area. On March 18, the brewery kicked off its efforts by donating 150 hot meals to Our Daily Bread, a local community kitchen. Since then, Akademia Brewing has contributed more food through partnerships with Family Promise of Athens and The Salvation Army. To donate to the Think We Not Me program, visit charity.gofundme.com/akademia-outreach-program.
Good Word Brewing
For nearly two weeks, Good Word Brewing & Public House in Duluth has temporarily closed its usual operations and transformed its business into a makeshift soup kitchen. From noon to 6 p.m. each day, the brewery’s staff make soup to serve for free to those who are hungry or in the restaurant industry. If people are interested in offering support to Good Word, the brewery recommends purchasing a gift card, giving funds to its GoFundMe that supports its hourly staff, or donating to The Giving Kitchen, a local organization that aids Georgia restaurant workers in need.
Monday Night Brewing
Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta launched a to-go program to help support its employees. The brewery is donating 25% of all sales and 100% of tips to its nearly 50 furloughed staff members.
People can pick up boxes of beer from both of its taprooms and even “quarantine kits,” which include a pack of beer, roll of toilet paper and a Monday Night glass.
Pretoria Fields Collective
To aid the community against COVID-19, Pretoria Fields Collective, a farm brewery out of Albany — which currently has one of the worst outbreaks in the state — has repurposed its operations to mass-produce hand sanitizer. The product follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines, and will be overseen by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, according to an article by the Albany Herald. The brewery plans to distribute the hand sanitizer among first responders, those in the health care field and others in the Albany community.
Wild Heaven Beer
Wild Heaven Beer, located in Avondale Estates and West Atlanta, recently started a special case deal to raise money for its furloughed staff. The brewery set aside nearly 200 cases of beer to be sold at $30 each. Wild Heaven employees will receive 50% of the sales. The brewery also expanded its giving efforts to the West Atlanta community on Friday, March 27, by serving free chicken and rice soup to those passing by its “Emergency Drinking Bar.”