We hope that you and your families are staying safe, healthy, and relatively sane during these difficult times. The affects of this global pandemic are varied and far-reaching. Thankfully, our employees, their families, Vinnie and I are healthy and able to focus on other aspects of our lives. Our hearts go out to everyone adversely affected by the coronavirus and COVID-19 global pandemic.
During the ongoing shelter in place order, we are continuing to offer takeout food and beer at our Downtown Santa Rosa pub and beer to go in the Windsor Gift Shop. This upcoming Memorial Day weekend we are also going to try takeout food at the Windsor restaurant May 22nd-25th! If this proves to be a success, we will likely start offering takeout in Windsor on weekends until we able to safely reopen for in-house dining. Both pub menus are posted on our website along with the beers available in growlers, bottles, and cans to go. Food can be preordered and picked up in a safe and friendly environment. We placed 6’ social distance markers on the floors, installed plexiglass barriers for safe closer interactions, and are sanitizing all surfaces frequently throughout the day. And our staff always wears facial coverings. Residents and customers in Sonoma County are also required to wear facial coverings when entering any building. Check out our website for the menus here: https://russianriverbrewing.com/santa-rosa-location/pub-menu/
California Governor Gavin Newsom laid out some detailed guidelines last week specifically related to the hospitality industry including restaurants, brewpubs, and brewery/winery tasting rooms. But there are some state mandated COVID-19 metrics that counties must achieve before moving into the next phase of reopening. Although we have relatively few cases in Sonoma County, we have yet to achieve these required goals. Once we are allowed to safely reopen, some of the requirements for all California restaurants, brewpubs, and tasting rooms include: spacing tables 6’ apart (essentially reducing capacity by 50% or more), requiring employees to wear masks, and all customers must order a meal with their beverage. This last one is a bummer, but if we all follow the rules, we will be able to reopen again for “normal” service soon!
Although most of our on-premise (bars and restaurants) accounts are closed, those that are open seem to be doing pretty well with growlers and bottles to go. The majority of our wholesale business at this time is coming from sales to stores like Whole Foods, Olivers, Nugget and other markets. But we do miss our bar and restaurant accounts and hope they are also able to reopen again soon.
We also started shipping beer through our online store to customers throughout California in an effort to help move some beer and pay the bills while our pubs are mostly shut down. Thankfully, this was a tremendous success and something we have continued to do nearly every week since the shelter in place order began 2 months ago! There have also been many requests for out of state shipping. Sadly, our hands are pretty tied on that one. It is only legal to ship directly from a brewery to out of state consumers in about 8 states. The history behind this and the reasons why things have not changed in decades are too much to go into when responding to comments, questions, and even a few complaints on social media. During my “out-of-state-shipping-direct-to-consumer” research, I found this article provided by winery and brewery compliance company SOVOS to be very interesting and informative. Although the article was written by Alex Koral 4 years ago, not much has changed with regards to beer. Shipping direct to consumers within California remains the easiest and least expensive option for us at this time. I imagine we will eventually take on a few other states, but not without hiring someone to take care of the compliance. You will see what I mean if you read the article! https://sovos.com/blog/2016/03/23/want-beer-direct-consumer/. Please check out our online store for the latest offerings.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long update! Vinnie and I are grateful for your continued love, support, well-wishes, heartfelt thanks, pictures, and stories. If you have any fun pics showing how RRBC beer brings a bright spot to your shelter-in-place experience, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to not only see how you are doing but also share some images on our Instagram and Facebook pages. Please take care of yourselves. From fires, floods, and blackouts to global pandemics, we will get through this together!
Natalie and Vinnie