Just as High and Dry were successfully celebrating their second anniversary with live music and a packed taproom (remember those?), the world came to a screeching halt. Sounds like an epic party, right? No, no, it was COVID … and as with so many other businesses, they had to stop partying and quickly rethink their plans for 2020. For our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, we had an email chat with co-owner/head brewer Andrew Kalemba to find out how things have gone during their second year, and what they hope for going forward.
Being a popular venue for local talent in the pre-pandemic world, High and Dry had to temporarily pull the plug on live music and rethink how they approach their day to day.
“Navigating all of the changes with operating the business in a much stricter safety guidelines, additional training and modified floor plans was a constant learning process,” Andrew wrote. “We were not expecting to see the resistance of some of the new rules by patrons, but we took it upon ourselves to educate our customers and follow all guidelines strictly to be a part of the overall solution.”
Getting their hands on a crowler machine early on was key to their modified business strategy.
“We were very lucky and fortunate to be able to sell our products since the early shutdowns when many others were not able to,” Andrew wrote. “At first we did not think offering crowlers would be as impactful as it was. The upside is that we have a great base of regulars who kept us going.”
The High and Dry crew did find creative ways to continue contributing to the beer community, including some projects they previously would have struggled to find the time to pull off.
“We brewed our version of Black is Beautiful with Chinese Five Spice and also entered the IPA challenge for our first time,” Andrew wrote. “We continued our annual project with Steel Bender and Canteen to raise money for the Pink Warrior House in the month of October. We also starting working on after-hours live music projects with Duke City Virtual, when we can, to record and get local bands playing music again and keep supporting the community.”
Having just installed a new 4-barrel brewing system at the beginning of 2020, Andrew wrote that he is still looking forward to being able to put it to good use.
“We are excited to bring new beers and have the new system running at full capacity,” he wrote. “Ideally, once this stuff gets behind us we can bring new creative experiences to the brewery and our fans with the new relationships that we have developed in these crazy times that we might never had thought of before.”
Looking forward to their third year in business, Andrew shared, “For 2021, like most I would guess, we would love to put 2020 behind us. Lets get back to normal and start having fun in the way that we know how.”
Now that is a sentiment we can all relate to, so lets raise a glass to continuing to support one another, and looking toward better days ahead.
May the beer be with you, always.