Next up in our ongoing series of brewery updates is High and Dry Brewing. Sales are down to about a quarter of what they were before the pandemic, but there are a couple moves that could help in the near future. Co-owner/brewer Andrew Kalemba told us about one new piece of equipment for the taproom that should help, while he is working in the back on the new brewhouse that High and Dry purchased from Blue Grasshopper.
Here are all of Andrew’s responses to our email questionnaire. (And yes, before anyone points it out, we are aware that the governor extended stay-at-home until May 15.)
NMDSBC: What pandemic era innovations have worked out for your brewery?
Kalemba: Nothing super innovative. We have started online ordering and payment with Hopps. Not a huge bump in sales, but we are getting some traction there. Too early to tell at this point.
Also, we purchased a crowler machine a few weeks ago to adjust and move away from growler glass. We had planned on making this purchase as part of our new project with the equipment purchase. So this just forced to us get going a little quicker. Cans arrived and planning for labels and the machine to be here this week. Hopefully we can roll this service out by the weekend.
NMDSBC: Has online ordering (should you have it) been a bonus or a headache?
Kalemba: Not a headache for us. The setup was a little challenging, but nothing too complicated.
NMDSBC: Have sales remained constant or are they fluctuating week-by-week, day-by-day?
Kalemba: Sales (are) relatively constant since we last spoke. Still about 25 percent of our average.
NMDSBC: Have customers responded positively to any beer/food discounts? Or have you found most people are still unaware?
Kalemba: We have been doing 10 percent off growler fills. I think people and the regulars appreciate it, but I don’t think it’s the reason people are coming in.
NMDSBC: What are some ideas you have coming up? Please include any special beer releases you would already like to start letting people know about.
Kalemba: No planned releases of anything new. Keeping the same model rolling. You might see a few new IPAs or pale ales pop up on the menu. We are working a some new low ABV beers which should be out in the next month. Spending a lot of my free time working on getting the be equipment set up as well.
NMDSBC: If the stay-at-home order is extended to mid or late May, or even beyond, is there a point where the current to-go-only model is not going to be feasible for your brewery?
Kalemba: I think we can keep going with the reduced team, but it’s going to be tight!
We are excited to see what beers Andrew can make on the larger brewhouse when it is up and running, and the addition of the crowler machine should be a big help. We thank Andrew for responding both times we have sent out email questions to the breweries since the pandemic reduced everything to takeout only.
Look for two more stories in this series Friday.
Keep supporting local!