MINNETONKA — Several local breweries have realized a shortage of growlers, but no shortage of customer and community support during the virus-spurred economic slowdown.
“It’s a brave new world out there, but we’re adapting,” said owner JD Park of Unmapped Brewing Co. in Minnetonka. “We, like others, have taken a hit, but it has also been awesome to see the huge outpouring of support from the community for us and other local businesses.”
The sale of growlers, 64-ounce glass containers, exploded once in-house consumption was restricted, Park said. The facility had a six-week supply of those containers on hand.
“But then we got hit and we went through that supply in six days,” he said. “We would have had only nine growlers left for the next four days, so I drove 15 hours in the car in one day to Kansas and back to get more from our supplier. You do what you have to do.”
A social media post also brought a large number of empty growlers back to Unmapped.
“Waves of people brought back empties, which was really cool to see,” he added. “These are trying times and sometimes you want to have a beer to take the edge off. People still want to have a semblance of a normal life and having a beer is part of that.”
Don Anderson, an owner of Fat Pants Brewing Co. of Eden Prairie, said the company ran out of growlers, forcing them to also drive to Kansas for about 500 containers. About 1,000 more will arrive over the next two weeks.
“Customers have been very supportive,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of comments from them saying they are in here just trying to support local businesses and to keep things moving forward as best as possible.
“Our goal is to try and make sure that we make sure our full-time employees are covered who depend on that income to take care of their families,” Anderson said, noting that almost the entire part-time staff was cut back.
Fat Pants, which offers site-made food and beverage for pickup and delivery, usually sees customers come into the building to retrieve orders.
“I think most prefer to come in because it offers a little bit of a break in routine to actually come in and see people,” Anderson said.
Tony Filippi, taproom business manager for Excelsior Brewing Co., said the entire Excelsior business sector is greatly appreciative of the community support.
“We’ve been selling a lot of growlers and things are going pretty well, all things considered,” he said. “We can’t say enough about how the community is helping out.”
Excelsior Brewing and several restaurants, including Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar and Lago Tacos, have teamed up to offer reciprocal discounts for customers who patronize their facilities.
“Supporting each other is crucial for all of us in helping each other get through this,” Filippi said.