Flying Dog to Keep Brewery Tasting Room Closed For at Least a Year

Flying Dog Brewery will keep its brewery taproom shuttered until at least June 2021, when the company will “evaluate the possibility of reopening,” the company announced in a press release. The company cited a need to focus on producing its core offerings, as well as support for its retail accounts.

“It’s been a devastating few months for restaurants, bars and other establishments in Frederick County and beyond, and we want to do whatever we can to help them to rebuild their businesses,” Flying Dog chief marketing officer Ben Savage said in a press release.

Frederick County, Maryland, where Flying Dog is located, is in “Stage One” of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s recovery plan, which permits outdoor dining at bars and restaurants with “strong safety protocols in place.”

Those protocols include no more than six guests per party unless they are members of the same household, six feet of separation between tables, menus that are single-use or sanitized between guests, sanitizing tables and chairs between each party, daily temperature checks for staff, staff training on COVID-19-related guidelines and the wearing of masks for staff whenever they are interacting with guests or co-workers.

Maryland has been swift to loosen regulations for licensed sellers of alcoholic beverages. On March 19, Hogan issued an executive order, just as the pandemic was beginning to affect daily life in America, to allow breweries, wineries, distilleries, restaurants and bars to sell alcoholic beverages to-go and deliver to consumers’ homes.

Since the executive order went into effect, Flying Dog has sold kegs to go from its brewery in what started as an effort to repurpose draft beer.

Brewing operations are ongoing at Flying Dog, and non-production employees are working from home.

In 2019, Flying Dog’s volume declined 5%, to an estimated 90,000 barrels, according to data from not-for-profit trade group the Brewers Association (BA). Flying Dog also slipped two places, to No. 35, in the BA’s rankings of the top 50 craft breweries by volume.

The news that Flying Dog won’t reopening its taproom in 2020 comes about two weeks after another top 50 craft brewery, Munster, Indiana-based Three Floyds Brewing, indefinitely extended the closing of its brewery taproom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been navigating this new world day by day and rolling with the punches it has thrown at us,” Three Floyds wrote in a Facebook post. “The safety of our customers and staff is our first priority, and at this time, we do not have immediate plans to reopen 3 Floyds Brewpub for bar or dine-in service.”

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