WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The craft beer scene in Wilmington and across the Cape Fear was thriving, bringing millions into our local economies. However, the novel coronavirus has halted that growth.
“We’re basically at a standstill," said Craig Gee, co-owner of Waterman’s Brewing Company. "We’re doing what we can. We’re filling growlers for people who need beer now. Past that point, we’re just in a wait and see until we see what’s going to happen next.”
Last Tuesday, Governor Cooper announced that all bars and restaurants were to be closed to dine-in customers.
Meaning, all taprooms, beer gardens, and tastings had to stop. Dozens of bartenders in our community are now seeking unemployment.
“This is when tourists start coming back and golfers start coming back in, the island starts popping with people, spring breakers, soon it will be bike week," said Eric Sutton, general manager of Makai Brewing Company. "There’s things happening in our community that we use to be able to support and be supported through that isn’t happening now.”
Canning products are becoming hard to order, along with certain types of hops and yeast.
“We’re putting thousands of dollars toward ingredients and brew time and all that and we really don’t know what... it’s the uncertainty of it all that makes it so hard," said Sutton
During this uncertain time, brewers want to encourage the community to buy local.