Governor Ron DeSantis has resisted calls to shut down businesses amid the pandemic, but he also has not been entirely supportive of opening all businesses. Thus, breweries around the state had mixed feelings when the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears announced that taprooms could reopen on September 14 at 50% capacity.
Wait a minute, what?
This is great, if long overdue, news for many brewery owners, but others had more mixed feelings about this reopening. Some of the issues highlighted include:
- Timing: The state opens taprooms during the slowest time of year, which means it may be harder to cover overhead if they do open.
- Restaurant licenses not necessary: Following the advice of Secretary Beshears and Governor DeSantis to open with an amended license, many opted to switch to a restaurant license, which cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Now breweries are out that money at a time when money is tight.
- New activities: Taprooms often make for great meeting spaces for larger groups to celebrate or watch a sporting event. They need to somewhat rethink what else they can offer amid the pandemic.
- Good luck: The state has provided no additional business relief to breweries beyond a hearty “good luck” from officials.
Community support is crucial
Many here in the Sunshine state are proud of our beer scene. However, it is an unpleasant fact of life that not all of them will survive this economic downturn and pandemic. We encourage beer lovers (and those who love them) to support their local taprooms — get beer to go if the room is at capacity. Beyond beer, merchandise from a favorite brewery makes a welcome holiday or birthday gift that provides much needed financial support to the businesses.