Monday Night Brewing’s Jeff Heck on Going into Survival Mode During the COVID-19 Crisis

Every brewery’s goal right now should be survival, Monday Night Brewing Company co-founder Jeff Heck told Brewbound editor Justin Kendall during an interview last Friday.

“If you’re not already in survival mode, you’re weeks behind,” he added.

The Atlanta-headquartered craft brewery went into survival mode even before the city issued a mandate to temporarily shutter on-premise businesses in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. Monday Night temporarily closed its two Atlanta taprooms, delayed the opening of an outpost in Birmingham, Alabama, and made the difficult decision to furlough nearly 50 employees from its taprooms, as well as sales and marketing teams.

“We lost about 55% of our revenue, [it] was gone overnight from our taprooms and our on-premise business,” Heck explained.

In an effort to stay afloat and support those furloughed employees, Monday Night launched a drive-thru, to-go sales program, from which the company is donating 25% of sales and 100% of tips to its furloughed employees.

“We’ve seen a really great outpouring of folks coming out to support their local breweries,” he said.

Monday Night also shifted its packaging mix to cans to meet a “surge” in grocery business, Heck said.

“We’re fortunate to have a strong presence in grocery,” he added.

Nevertheless, Monday Night, like a lot of other craft breweries, finds itself scrapping for survival. Heck discussed the existential threat facing small breweries and the entire hospitality business during a crisis few could have expected, how business owners must balance the tension between a lack of cash flow and the need to stock up, the future of the industry on the other side of the crisis and more during the above video interview with Kendall.

Look for additional videos on how the beer industry is adapting to the novel coronavirus, and click here to register for the first Brew Talks event of 2020 on Thursday, April 2, featuring two panel discussions with industry leaders from the major trade groups, as well as Dogfish Head, Denizens Brewing Company, Total Wine and the Winking Lizard Tavern and Taproom, on COVID-19’s impact on the beer business.

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