Let’s help our local breweries and beer retailers during COVID-19

With the announcement that Hunahpu’s Day 2020 is canceled for the first time in the event’s eleven-year history, many beer enthusiasts are wondering how to support their Tampa Bay craft beer community.  While other events are still taking place, it seems like more cancellations will occur in the coming days and weeks.  Some cities have even suspended large gatherings of people as a precaution against spreading COVID-19

The walls of 99 Bottles have artwork, but well, there's 99 pieces of art to choose from.

Fine breweries, bars, and retailers may have it rough the next few months, but we can all help them.

Here are a few ideas to spread the love to the craft beer community while COVID-19 precautions are in place:

Buy beer.  It seems like a no-brainer, but small businesses from taprooms to sports bars to package stores are going to be hurting during this time when fewer people are going out to enjoy meals and drinks.  If you were going to buy a six-pack, make it a twelve-pack.  If you were going to buy from one brewery, now would be a good time to try beer from a second brewery.  If there’s a special bottle that you’ve been keeping an eye on, go ahead and buy it.  If you had plans to go out, invest in a crowler or two.

Pick up beer from your local brewery to go. Don’t want to stick around?  That’s fine.  Buy beer to go.  While you can’t take the brewery experience home, you can help out by still making the purchase.

Grab some beer from a growler bar/ beer stop.  These folks are betting on great beer all of the time and they are supporting the cause of great beer from inside and outside the local community.

Pick up beer at a package store.  Again, these retailers are dedicating shelf space to great beer. What better way to say thanks than to take home some of that great beer?

Buy a gift card.  If you aren’t going out to dinner with friends, maybe buy them (or you) a gift card for a time when this pandemonium dies down. This would be like giving the gift of beer to future you and supporting a local business at the same time.

Buy some swag and wear it. While the money goes to the brewery, bottle shop, or beer store, wearing it will be helpful advertising for that business and possibly encourage other people to do what you did.

Share a beer with friends.  The brewery might not be able to evangelize to as many people, but that does not mean you can’t.  Pick up that special bottle and enjoy it with friends.  This is especially true now in Florida, since the beers that were supposed to go to some of these cancelled events will allegedly be available in distribution.

Remember that your health and the health of the community should come first. Don’t go out if you’re sick or have visited infected areas. Please monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as your state and local health officials for guidance and for the love of goodness, wash your hands and don’t hoard toilet paper and other essentials.

With or without the virus, this is still Tampa Bay Beer Week, and even without some of the special events the point of the week is to share the culture and community around craft beer. Beer enthusiasts are some of the most generous and considerate people on earth, and even if you weren’t planning on attending any events, you can still give your support to breweries and businesses who are likely going to need that support until COVID-19 fades into history.

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