Originally posted in Everett Herald HOPS AND SIPS | March 31, 2020
The past two weeks have thrown all of our lives into chaos. Most of us are staying home all day and all night, working from our dining room tables and teaching our children in our living rooms.
Brewers and distillers are no different. March has brought with it a number of surprises, with most beertenders now serving customers curbside instead of barside.
For some, the changes have been dramatic.
From gin to hand sanitizer
Slowly business began to shut down for Lynnwood’s Temple Distilling as the quarantine ramped up. Then AJ Temple, owner and distiller for Temple Distilling, began seeing other distillers changing operations to make hand sanitizers. Finally, phone calls began asking if Temple was making the alcohol-based cleaner.
Lynnwood’s Temple Distilling is now making the alcohol-based cleaner — but you can still order spirits.
“Our energy level is through the roof fright now,” Temple said. “The community response from customers and organizations have been great. We’re excited to be doing this.”
“We’re also looking forward to getting back to normal.”
Temple is following the World Health Organization and Federal Drug Administration standards in producing the hand sanitizer. After denaturing the alcohol with isopropyl alcohol, Temple adds hydrogen peroxide and glycerin.
“I talked to a woman who worked in the ER who was splashing Everclear on her hands,” said Temple. “Whatever they need, they’re using it.”
Temple is still selling its gins, including its new Constant Reader gin and Co-Authored Vol. 2 gin, in its online store at chapteronegin.com and offering free delivery within 30 miles of the distillery.
From brewer to delivery man
Dick Mergens is used to spending his days in the brewhouse wrestling with a recipe and mixing and matching hops, malt and yeast. He’s not used to being a door-to-door delivery guy.
Since the Governor’s stay-at-home edict, Mergens, owner and head brewer of Crucible Brewing, has been delivering his beers as part of Crucible’s curbside and delivery program.
“People has been really generous,” Mergens said. “They’re excited to see the owner delivering beer, but honestly I think they’d rather see someone else — another employee — doing it.”
Laying off most of his staff has been the hardest part for Mergens, who said he’s been mostly completing cleaning projects during the quarantine. The brewery has cut hours down to five per day for the entire staff. Meanwhile, delivery, curbside pickup and to-go options have all been extended.
“We’re doing OK,” said Mergens, who equated the current situation to a slow January week. “My main goal is that on the other side of this all of our people will have their jobs back.”
Crucible has set up an online store and is offering delivery, curbside and pickup to-go options via text message. Check out cruciblebrewing.com for more information.
From kegs to cans
When the quarantine began, SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval could only fill growlers to go. A phone call from a friend changed everything.
Scuttlebutt head brewer Eric Nord rang Sandoval and offered up the brewery’s unused crowler. It was a friendly gesture that Sandoval saw as a lifeline for his business.
Sandoval ran over to Scuttlebutt’s brewery on March 20 and got a crash course on filling and seaming the cans. He then brought the crowler to SnoTown and started an assembly line of filling cans. He created 24 four packs of 16-ounce cans and started selling them last weekend. SnoTown sold out quickly and had repeated success this past weekend.
Next weekend — SnoTown is only open Fridays through Sundays currently — Sandoval plans to have a dark beer and IPA four-pack.
For 5 Rights, the imperial IPA that was originally slated to be the brewery’s anniversary beer, is now Essential Business IPA. 5 Rights owner R.J. Whitlow said that the anniversary party has been put off indefinitely, but the brewery remains open for to-go orders Tuesday through Saturday.
Arlington’s Bad Dog Distillery recently released its BD Quad whiskey. Made from equal parts rye, corn, wheat and barley, the unique whiskey is available at the distillery, which is open for to-go sales Friday and Saturday. Like Temple, Bad Dog Distilling is also making hand sanitizer.