REDLANDS, Calif. – Pubs, cocktail bars, and breweries are all built on the premise of being social — offering customers a chance to come in and socialize over a drink.
However, in today's climate where social distancing rather than socializing has become the new normal, many SoCal drinking establishments have been left scrambling to adjust.
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Escape Craft Brewery in Redlands is typically packed on any given night, offering special themed parties and other events throughout the week. In fact, according to owner Melissa Fisher, nearly 90 percent of their income comes from inside the tasting room.
"Normally the bulk of our sales come from people coming in to hang out with us," she explained. "They’re celebrating birthdays, having a beer with friends, playing a board game and now, we can’t do that."
Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the statewide closure of all cocktail bars, pubs, and breweries. While they will still be allowed to operate in a takeout or delivery system, they will not be permitted to welcome customers inside to enjoy their products.
"People usually come in here to grab a pint and then they get some beer to take with them, so we are having people coming in to get beer, but the majority of our business is just gone," Fisher said.
It stands to be a huge economic toll for Escape and other local pubs and breweries. Fisher admitted that her business has enough capital to carry them through the next two weeks, but would not survive a long-term shutdown without some sort of cash infusion.
"It’s been rough, there’s a lot of unknown going on, not a lot of clarity in what’s happening," she said. "Not knowing if it’s going to be two weeks, three weeks, a month or three, that’s huge because we don’t know how to prepare."
She has been trying to concentrate on what they can do now, putting employees to work on maintenance and production, while encouraging the community to pick up products to go. Another idea for supporting local businesses, is to purchase a gift card.
"That means that you support us now and it’ll help carry us into the later," Fisher explained.
Fisher will also look into delivery options if the new regulations continue.
"Whether or not it’s going to be enough sales to keep us going, we’re not sure, but it’s something we’ll do," she said. "We’ll do anything to keep us going."
If you'd like to support Escape Craft Brewery, they are open for pickup after 2 p.m. or visit their Instagram Page for more info.