When a statewide stay at home order came down in March, breweries all over the state raced to find crowler machines, CO2 and cans in an effort to stay open and transform into breweries to go.
After internal — and external — deliberating, Nine Yards Brewing in Kenmore went a different route.
Knowing the large, open space he had could make it difficult to prevent the virus from spreading and over concern for his employees’ safety, owner Ethan Savaglio made the tough decision to temporarily close his brewery while he, and the rest of the region, wait out COVID-19.
“Our staff is very loyal, very dedicated, very capable,” Savaglio said. “We want to take care of our staff. We can only control so many factors. One of the factors that we could control was where they went to work. It was more important to us to have them stay home and have them remain healthy so when we reopen we have the staff we need. Also, ethically, having people stay healthy, that was more important to us.”
Savaglio loves the community feel Nine Yards Brewing’s staff and customers have been able to cultivate since it opened in 2015. The brewery hosts game nights, movie and sports screenings and does a comedy show one Friday a month.
“More than anything it’s just getting people out there, building a community,” Savaglio said. “We’re built around building a community and events. And no one wants to be in the position of having their event be the catalyst of having people getting sick.”
Until it can reopen, a GoFundMe has been set up to help to help Nine Yards with some expenses and provide some monetary relief to the brewery’s employees. Savaglio said he has enjoyed being able to use the funds to write checks for his employees once again.
The COVID-19 virus will likely cause some changes to Nine Yards Brewing when it does reopen, according to Savaglio. He is reassessing all aspects of the brewery from the shared cart of silverware and condiments down to the community water jug to figure out the best ways to keep people healthy both in the immediate, and long, term.
Along with his staff, Savalio is eagerly looking forward to being able to hang out again soon over a Homewrecker Red or a Sunset Cerveza or a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale.
Or a “specialty beer” that is currently in the works.
“We do have something pretty cool that is going to go up on the menu when we get back,” Savaglio said. “The biggest thing to do is, when we do open back up in whatever capacity we open up at first because we don’t know what the restrictions are, just come patronize the place. Let us know that you’re back! If you’re just comfortable grabbing growlers, we can make that happen. Just getting us back to where we can take care of our folks, that would mean the world to us. It would mean the world to have the community back and not have that place be dark.
“Come on back, watch a movie or sports on the big screen. Or replays of sports.”