If I learned anything from Saturday morning cartoons, besides three being the magic number, it was “necessity is the mother of invention.” In the past few weeks, I have heard this old proverb bandied about to express the way retailers and the beer industry specifically have responded in the face of the current quarantine.
Never was this point more clear than in talking with Kevin King from Good Brewing in Woodinville. When news broke of the Washington stay at home order Kevin and his wife Shalliah, a nurse, knew it was the right approach to the crisis.
“We both understand what is at stake,” Kevin said.
While we can all agree there is never a good time for a statewide quarantine, the timing hit Good Brewing especially hard. Right now, their business model is based 90% on in-house pint sales which is tough enough. But after just opening a second location in the Hollywood Schoolhouse area of Woodinville, it was especially painful.
“We wanted to make sure people had an opportunity to grab beer from their doorstep.”
Instead of getting ready for spring and summer crowds, Kevin was left juggling taproom hours for in person pick up, but soon realized, “I was not going to make enough revenue to pay payroll, rent for both locations and utilities.” That’s when he saw that some breweries had turned to delivery. Figuring out next steps, he called his friend Michael Dempster, from Mirage Beer Co., who had already implemented delivery. Kevin picked up a few tips and off they went.
Kevin explained, “Most people are making the right choice to stay home and not venture out. We wanted to make sure people had an opportunity to grab beer from their doorstep.” Kevin revamped the website himself and started to figure out how far they would deliver. “For the boundaries I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to get beer,” he said.
They set south Seattle as one boundary, figuring highway traffic would be light. Originally Kevin thought Bothell would be as far north as they could go. That’s when a volunteer stepped up and showed what a tight-knit family Good Brewing is. Literally. Kevin’s aunt said she could help deliver up north, which allowed Kevin to set the northern boundary to Arlington.
“She offered to deliver anything north of Bothell which helps out,” Kevin said. “She really loves doing the beer deliveries.”
So, every day on her way north from work to home, Kevin’s aunt, who is an essential medical employee, delivers beer. I guess we know who the real MVP is here!
Besides Kevin, in his 1949 Studebaker pickup, and the gracious aunt, Good Brewing is currently keeping 2-3 people busy with deliveries.
Asked about the response Kevin said, “Some people just order up a 4-pack and 6 Dave coins — coupons for free tap room beer — just to keep the money flowing for the brewery.” Adding a food option of “Pizza in a Box” where you get dough and all the ingredients to make your own pizza at home has helped. As more people hear about what Good Brewing is doing they continue to see an uptick in orders.
“This week looks like it will be the best so far,” said Kevin, which he’s hoping will allow Good Brewing to bring on/back more staff.
Naturally, I had to test it out. Because really, pizza AND beer delivered to my doorstep, am I dreaming? I ordered 2 mixed 6 packs of beer and 3 pizzas in 3 different boxes one evening and set delivery for the next day. Lo and behold, in early afternoon of the next day there was Kevin, with cold beer and pizza on my doorstep! I could’ve hugged him.
But, you know, there’s that whole social distancing thing.
The pizzas come with dough and all the ingredients needed to make them: sauce, toppings and cheese. We made the pizzas as a family, which, besides giving our wi-fi a break, also gave us a fun activity to do together. All of the beers were great, which isn’t surprising if you know Good Brewing. The two that stood out to me were Birthday Haze Craze and the Patchwork Hazy Pale.
Once things settle down and get back closer to normal, Kevin said, “we hope people will come running back to sit in our seats. However, I think things will be different, so depending on sales, we may keep beer delivery going.”
Personally, I love going out for a beer and will continue to do so as soon as I’m legally allowed. But I hope the innovation of home beer delivery sticks around much longer than Miller Chill and Four Loko.
Peace. Love. Beers. — Brian
Brian’s Tasting Notes
Birthday Haze Craze
Had to get this. Because anytime I see “Idaho 7,” I just can’t help myself.
| KEY INGREDIENTS Row Barley, White Wheat, Oats. Mosaic, Columbus and DDH of Idaho 7 hop hash
| ABV 6.2% | IBU 60
Patchwork Hazy Pale
Light enough to crush. Hoppy enough to make you think you’re drinking an IPA.
| KEY INGREDIENTS 100% Mosaic
| ABV 5.2%
If you can’t come to us, we’ll go to you.
| Artwork + Photography courtesy of Good Brewing Co.