People are staying indoors, businesses are closed or operating on limited hours, and finding toilet paper is like finding a gold nugget. We are in a very unique time in history. The current coronavirus pandemic has shown how delicate our globalized economy really is but it has also showed me the strength of our local craft beer community. The craft beer community, especially the one here in Tampa Bay, never ceases to amaze me. Not only have the local breweries and distilleries stepped up in a time of need but the patrons that support them have too!
With the novel coronavirus spreading like crazy around the world, a lot of health supplies have been in high demand and short supply. Besides toilet paper and paper towels, hand sanitizer has been nearly impossible to find. For any of you "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" fans out there, I have been picturing everyone being like Frank in "The Gang Gets Quarantined". For those of you who aren't fans (yet), Danny DeVito's character shaves all the hair off his body and covers himself in hand sanitizer when a bad flu breaks out in Philadelphia (check out his dissent to craziness HERE).
With hand sanitizer nearly impossible to find, some of our local breweries and distilleries decided to shift gears and produce hand sanitizer for their local health professionals and communities. This was a win-win because most of the breweries have had to close their taprooms due to "Safer at Home" orders and social distancing policies. This production switch has allowed some establishments to keep making some additional money in addition to beer-to-go sales. Breweries and distilleries found it quite easy to make the switch to hand sanitizer as their equipment setup was perfect for the production. Here's a list of our local breweries and distilleries that have stepped up for our locals (click links to go to original articles):
Since a lot of the craft breweries and distilleries have stepped up to support their community it's only fair that we reciprocate. A lot of craft beer enthusiasts in the area have come together (while staying at least 6 feet apart) to support our local watering holes as best as we can! I have seen Instagram and Facebook posts of people braving the world and purchasing beer-to-go from breweries while they are still able to. I, myself, made a tour around Dunedin and hit every brewery that was open last week to purchase beer and gift cards! These small businesses need all the support they can get right now because, unfortunately, I don't think all of them will make it through this economic downturn... especially if we turn our backs on them when they need it most.
If you have the means and ability then please consider going to your local brewery and support them now because they may not be there when the dust settles.
Creative Loafing Tampa has also put together "Living Local Certificates" that allow you to order gift cards online for businesses around Tampa Bay without having to leave the comfort of your home! Check out their WEBSITE to see what is available. The businesses will receive all of the money from the gift cards purchased through CL Tampa.
It's been amazing seeing this community come together when so many feel afraid and alone.
***If you do decide to venture out then please, please, please follow all state and local ordinances and practice social distancing!***