CHARLOTTE, N.C. — UPDATE: Breweries can now open. Late Friday afternoon, Channel 9 received new state guidance that said if the business makes alcoholic beverages for commercial sale off site, it is allowed to reopen.
Click here for guidance on breweries: “If any customers consume food and/or beverages on-premises at the commercial winery, brewery, or distillery, the Emergency Maximum Occupancy requirements, Core Screening, Signage, and Sanitation requirements, and other regulations for restaurants under Section 6(C)(2) of Executive Order No. 141 apply. Therefore, any customers consuming food or beverages on-premises must be in seated groups that are spaced at least six feet apart, and customers or guests will be limited to 50% fire capacity.”
There was confusion earlier about breweries being allowed to open. At first, it did not look good for the industry in the state.
It’s was not exactly a Thursday night that Neil Gimon would have envisioned two months ago. His brewery, Dreamchaser’s, was empty with the exception of a few people putting labels on four-packs.
“Today is my fourth anniversary here,” said Gimon. “We would rather be spending it with a lot of people here but we are following the law.”
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It is not clear when people will be able to enjoy beer inside the transformed fire station in downtown Waxhaw. Having just 50% capacity would go a long way. In the meantime, Dreamchaser’s Brewery has four-pack sales to thank for keeping the Waxhaw brewery afloat.
“Starting in April, that would have been our busy season all the way through summer and we’ve watched our sales drop significantly,” Gimon said. “Fortunately for our cans, they have been keeping us alive.”
Dreamchaser's is in a tough spot. It's one of the few places that can't reopen right now in downtown Waxhaw. Numerous breweries across the Charlotte area and state find themselves in the same position. They can't reopen because they lack a kitchen.
Breweries with food service don’t share the same fate. Heist and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery are reopening on Friday at 5 p.m.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is trying to limit risk at a time when all the data metrics are not decreasing.
“We recognize that means there are some businesses we don’t want to move forward with at this time,” Dr. Cohen said. “All of these activities have risk, the question is should we be doing them all at the same time and the data really indicated to us we needed to take a modest step and we really needed to go slow.”
Gimon plans to follow the same guidelines restaurants have to follow for indoor service when he is allowed to reopen.
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The NC Brewers Guild is negotiating with the state to find a way for breweries like Dreamchaser’s to reopen.
Governor Roy Cooper is holding a press conference Friday at 2 p.m.
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