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How to support local craft beer

Brian Carpenter, right, is the taproom manager at Brick West Brewing, and Sam Milne is the head brewer. The coronavirus pandemic “has allowed us to take a step back, look at our current processes and begin to make us even more efficient in the future,” Carpenter said. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Brian Carpenter, right, is the taproom manager at Brick West Brewing, and Sam Milne is the head brewer. The coronavirus pandemic “has allowed us to take a step back, look at our current processes and begin to make us even more efficient in the future,” Carpenter said. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Greg Wildermuth For The Spokesman-Review

With the recent issue of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “stay home” order, many local breweries were rightfully concerned about the immediate future. Thankfully for them and all of us craft beer fans, breweries throughout the state have been allowed to remain open in order to provide takeaway beer and food options for customers to enjoy while passing the days at home.

If you’re looking for ways to support local craft beer during this unprecedented time, I’m here to provide a few suggestions.

Double-check the hours: Many breweries and beer bars have reduced their hours in light of the stay-home order, so save a trip and make sure the place you are headed to is actually open.

Leave your growlers at home: In an effort to maintain sanitization, many breweries will only fill either crowlers – 16- or 32-ounce cans that are filled and sealed on-site with a special machine – or brand-new growlers that have been sanitized before being filled. In many cases, the cost of the new growler is covered with the purchase of the beer. Also, don’t forget to tip your beertender well for the invaluable service they are providing.

Order ahead of time: Several breweries have expanded their online or phone ordering options so they can have your beer ready when you arrive and even provide curbside service in some cases. Check out the social media pages of your favorite spots to see how best to get in contact.

Purchase merchandise or a gift card: Like for so many businesses during this time, cashflow is a major issue for many breweries and beer bars. By buying merchandise or gift cards, your favorite watering holes get money upfront, and you’ll have another reason to visit when this is all behind us.

Plan a virtual Happy Hour: Once you’ve purchased your beer, you’ll need an excuse to drink it. A virtual Happy Hour with your friends and family via video chat is a great way to feel more connected in this time of isolation. Chat, listen to music or play a game, and things might start to feel a bit more normal for a while.

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