ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida brewers are asking to the state to let them reopen, as more than 100 businesses may be close to shuttering.
“It’s just really leaving a lot of sales behind or off the table, were not able to do because these people aren’t able to sit down for a beer or two,” said Charles Frizzell, who owns Broken Strings Brewery.
The Orlando brewery is only taking “to-go” orders after the state-mandated bars close earlier this month.
“We were notified that we had to shut down via a tweet,” Frizzell said.
He says sales have dropped 75 percent compared to last month when he was finally allowed to reopen after the first closure.
“We can survive a couple months if we have to but it’s not ideal. We’re drawing on reserves that we have,” he said.
The Florida craft brewing industry sent Governor Ron DeSantis a letter earlier this week pleading that he allow their businesses to reopen again.
The letter says more than 100 breweries statewide will likely close permanently if this continues for another two weeks.
“We were kind of scrounging… trying to figure out what do we do now,” said Jeremy Pittman, owner of RockPit Brewing.
The doors are open at RockPit but to do it, the owners had to get a food license. They joined forces with one of their food trucks.
“We’re really helping each other. Helping their business, trying to get them and get food. Helps us by staying open and serving beer,” Pittman said.
The place is still struggling.
“We’re still probably at least 50 percent down,” Pittman said.
Pittman feels for fellow brewers who haven’t been able to reopen at all.
“Let’s be honest. Unless you’re open when it comes to a brewery typesetting like this, it’s going to hurt,” he said.
“I just want us all to be on the same playing field,” Frizzell said.
The letter also argues that breweries are usually most busy between noon and eight and serving families, unlike a bar or nightclub.