San Diego, California-headquartered Green Flash Brewing has furloughed or laid off most of its staff, VP of marketing Ben Widseth confirmed to Brewbound on Tuesday evening.
“On Monday, in light of the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on most facets of the economy, Green Flash was forced to make the very difficult decision to terminate or reduce employee work hours through furloughs,” the company said in a statement. “This impacted a meaningful portion of our staff.”
The company, which also owns Alpine Brewing after a 2014 acquisition, will continue to produce beer, Widseth added.
“We are continuing to produce our beers and fill orders for our customers, and will reopen our tasting rooms when it is safe and appropriate to do so,” the company said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a statewide shelter-in-place order on Thursday, March 19, which led to the closure of Green Flash’s tasting room and beer garden at its San Diego brewery, as well as Alpine’s tasting room and separate pub in Alpine.
Although the company’s off-premise sales have increased, the added sales are not enough to offset the on-premise losses, Widseth said.
Green Flash and Alpine remain open for to-go sales with deep discounts on kegs and growlers.
Now is the time to keep that glass half full. Support #SDBEER. Stop by the brewery for 50% OFF kegs and growlers, and 10% OFF cans and bottles to go! Our new hours are M-F 3-6pm and weekends 12-3pm. #greenflashbeer #DrinkingFromHome #dfh
📷 @craftbeerin_sd pic.twitter.com/C24TKORkwg
— Green Flash Brewing (@GreenFlashBeer) March 23, 2020
Among the employees let go was Shawn Mcilhenney, Alpine’s brewmaster and son of the brand’s founder, Pat Mcilhenney, who announced that he was no longer with the company on his personal Facebook page.
In November, Green Flash shuttered its taproom in Lincoln, Nebraska, after 16 months.
Other Craft Breweries Forced to Cut Staff
Several other craft breweries have laid off or furloughed workers over the last two weeks, including Deschutes, McMenamins, Russian River, and The Lost Abbey, among others.
San Diego-based Coronado Brewing has laid off its sales and marketing staff, according to a report from Beer Marketer’s Insights on Tuesday.
Atlanta, Georgia-based Monday Night Brewing has furloughed its taproom, sales and marketing teams, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In Portland, Maine, Austin Street Brewery has furloughed nearly its entire staff, co-founder Jake Austin told Brewbound in an email. The company’s Fox Street location remains open for to-go sales but the company’s Industrial Way location is closed.
“We sold a ton of beer this weekend, but we’re of course a little worried that might have just been everyone stocking up and not really sustainable numbers for us,” Austin said.
Austin Street is using Portland-based delivery service CarHop, and the company shipped three pallets of beer to its wholesaler in Massachusetts.
“We’re still looking at dumping some beer, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was looking just one week ago,” Austin said.
Portland city manager Jon Jennings has issued a stay-at-home order for the city, beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday and tentatively slated to end on Monday, March 30.