Georgetown’s Barking Armadillo Brewing had been open two weeks before being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the new business is ready to open again May 22, after Gov. Greg Abbott gave permission to breweries to open at 25% capacity. But co-owner of the brewery Jacob Trimm said he has mixed emotions about opening.
“We want to do it in the safest manner possible, obviously, [but] the logistics behind it all can be complicated,” Trimm said. “Trying to do what's best for the people but also keep your business alive is kind of a difficult thing right now.”
Trimm said Barking Armadillo had to furlough all of its employees and only had the owners working the brewery in order to financially survive the closure.
The business also survived through curbside pickup, a feature the business intends to keep, he said. He added with the new regulations, the brewery will have to alter its business model. Previously, patrons would go up to the bar to order, but that cannot happen now, which means the brewery will have to offer table service, which requires more employees to pay, Trimm said.
He added regular cleanings and ensuring 25% capacity and social distancing also requires more employees, which adds to costs.
“We’re a very small brewery; we don’t have a lot of employees,” Trimm said. “It's just one of the major things that I think makes it kind of difficult.”
Nonetheless, Trimm said Barking Armadillo will be open May 22 and do its best to limit service to the patio—where there are no capacity restrictions beyond maintaining 6 feet of distance. But Trimm recognizes there could be issues with depending on the patio, including weather as the hot summer days approach.
Rentsch Brewery will also work to keep as many of its patrons on the patio as possible, Rentsch Director of Sales Adam Blumenshein said.
Blumenshein, who is also co-owner of Strange Land Brewery, said he was nervous for the brewery when the closures came, particularly when nearly 50% of his revenue comes from supplying kegs to restaurants, which were also closed. He said some breweries he spoke to lost about 90% in revenue during the closure. Rentsch lost 60% in revenue to which he thanked the residents of Georgetown.
“Georgetown has been wildly supportive,” Blumenshein said. “They have come out and purchased a significant amount of beer from us, and we're grateful for the community support.”
Rentsch will be ready to open May 22 with outdoor seating, he said. He added the brewery has always offered beer sales to go and will continue to do so.
“The financial impact, that has certainly been felt by the brewery and the employees that have lost hours of the tasting room and their lost tips, but then also the social aspect,” Blumenshein said. “We all get in the business of making beer and serving beer because we love interacting with people, and that has been greatly diminished.”