Coronavirus: Springfield breweries are taking severe hit during pandemic

Local breweries are taking a huge hit during the coronavirus pandemic because their largest source of revenue usually comes from draft beer.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health issued an order closing all Ohio bars and restaurants to in-house patrons on March 15.

Kevin Loftis, owner of Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. said that from a business standpoint he was worried, “but from a personal standpoint I do understand what is happening and why it is happening and I support it.”

Last year, Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. did 70 percent of their sales in drafts and 30 percent in cans, Loftis explained.

“The drafts were not only for here on-site, but also for the restaurant taps,” Loftis said.

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Due to not having an outlet for draft sales, Loftis said they have been discounting their smaller kegs and have “scrambled to get everything in our tanks into cans.”

Two days a week, Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. is open for carryout with four different can products - Disco Dancer, Pool Shark Pale Ale, Truck Stop Pils and Witbier. They also have a food truck on-site when they are open.

“You come in, get a 6 pack or 12 pack, a couple meals carryout, and you head home,” Loftis said.

North High Brewing Co., a Columbus-based brewery that is opening a taproom in COhatch The Market, is experiencing a similar revenue loss.

“For us that’s a huge hit,” Gavin Meyers, co-founder of North High Brewing Co. said. “About 30 to 40 percent of our annual revenue comes from our taproom (in Columbus). The bigger hit for us financially is the fact that the majority of our keg sales go to other bars and restaurants.”

Meyers explained that they are not only losing their leading revenue generator, but they are also losing the majority of their customers.

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The taproom in COhatch The Market was ready to open on April 1, prior to the order, Meyers said. It will open as soon as bars and restaurants are allowed to by the state.

Loftis said he expects to see more businesses failing because there are only so many expenses you can curb.

“There are just so many unknowns that are changing every day,” Loftis said. “You just don’t know how much to brew. It’s just a day to day struggle.”

When bars and restaurants reopen, the amount of product to order and how many customers will return is unpredictable.

“It’s going to be a big challenge,” Loftis said. “We will be here as long as we can and I know the community will certainly come back and embrace us, but if I can only have 40 people in here instead of 220 - there’s not enough beer you can drink to survive.”

Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. is open for carryout 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, search for Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. on Facebook.

To find out more information about North High Brewing Co.’s taproom, search for North High Brewing Co. on Facebook.

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