Times are getting a little crazy for all of us, and desperate for small businesses! In an alternate universe I’m getting in my last runs for the Paris Marathon and preparing to leave town next week. Instead, like so many out there, I’m working from home (and losing a few jobs because I freelance).
But I’m definitely lucky, my job doesn’t put me at risk and the government hasn’t mandated that I cut, or fully shut down my business unlike so many of our friends in the brewing and hospitality businesses. I thought I would share some of my favorite merch I’ve collected over the years that you can order online to help support independent beer, or your local brewery. Below that, I have ideas and strategies for how you can *safely* support businesses in your area.
If you need someone to talk to about beer, or anything!, I’m here! @beerswithmandy or firstname.lastname@example.org
Exile Brewing – Des Moines, Iowa
I’m obsessed with the story behind Exile’s flagship beer, Ruthie. And now they have a shirt for me to obsess over, too! For Women’s History month (and just…everyday) the front pocket of this shirt says “Empowered Women Empower Women.” Beyond the Ruthie shirt this Iowa brewery has a ton of cool merch available, all of which features art from a local illustrator. Check them out!
Allagash Brewing – Portland, Maine
You see brewery t-shirts and hats everywhere but who knew you could rep independent beer with your feet? I love these Allagash White socks!
Randolph Beer – New York, New York
Gotta carry all that local beer in something! This tote is super durable with thick straps. It also comes with black text instead of color if you’re into that. Randolph has many locations that also have restaurants in NYC. They employ staff at multiple bars, kitchens, and breweries (by the way everything is delicious so we need them to keep up the great work for when we can all reunite over brunch!)
Russian River Brewing Company – Sonoma, California
I have had a single Russian River glass for more than 8 years. It still looks great, not a single chip in it! All of their glassware products are super high quality (they are famous for their unique growler) so this act of support is one that will definitely keep on giving!
Tired Hand Brewing Company – Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Whenever I’m home to visit my family we make it a point to take a little day trip out to Ardmore to visit one of Tired Hands’ locations. The food and beer are tasty and creative, but since we don’t have access to those right now, their premium merch will have to do. This shirt with a log cabin that says “drink comfortable” is almost too on the nose for our “social distancing” times.
Vault Brewing Company – Yardley, Pennsylvania
This brewery requires no road tripping for me, it’s just down the street from my childhood home! Their shirts are great but I would really suggest a gift card if you know anyone that travels through Philadelphia or Princeton, a lovely little detour and supporting a small neighborhood brewpub that employees a lot of people in the small town.
Community Beer Co. – Dallas, Texas
When I lived in Dallas, Community was my neighborhood brewery. They are very generous with their space and I went to multiple fundraisers there over the years. They also make great beer andddd merch for your dog! Looks like I’m getting Chewy some swag. (They also have shirts and glassware.)
Oxbox Brewing – Portland, Maine
Oxbow is a good brewery. This sweatshirt is a good sweatshirt. That’s it. That’s the recommendation. (If you’re local they also have beer for curbside pickup!)
Highland Park Brewery – Highland Park California
One of the brewer/owners from Highland Park was in one of my sensory training classes. He said over and over again how he was bringing this education to his staff so they could learn more and get promotions, I loved that so much so I’m thinking of his team right now. Also beer and baseball…this hat is awesome!!
Live Oak Brewing – Austin, Texas
You can’t always be drinking beer. So get some wares for your morning coffee. These mugs are handmade and nice and heavy. Plus…they look so cool! Live Oak is single-handedly keeping some historical styles alive in the US. Throw them some support for their dedication.
Nightshift Brewing – Boston, Massachusetts
Speaking of coffee, Nightshift Brewing also has a coffee shop and their coffee is divine! Smooth but still packs a ton of flavor. They can’t ship you beer but they can ship you beans. Grab the Lovejoy Dark Roast.
Lamplighter Brew Co – Cambridge, Mass.
I love to stop by this brewery and coffee shop combo when in Boston. I alwaysss get a flight so I can try the new beers on tap. They have so much merch it was hard to pick a favorite, but this “Drink Local” long sleeve struck the right message for me!
Sixpoint Brewing – New York, New York
It’s 2020. If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the disposable water bottles! Get yourself a nice big reusable one from Sixpoint, and stay hydrated.
How to Support if You Don’t Want (Awesome!!) Merch
Check if Your Local Bars are Offering Delivery
I know here in NYC bars like ABC Beer Co. and Top Hops are delivering through alcohol delivery services. This is a two for the price of one support! Help out a local bar and move local beer while its still fresh and delicious!
If you can try to order delivery directly from the bar (this helps them save on fees paid to delivery services) but ordering from a service like Minibar or Grub Hub is still better than nothing!
Check Out Breweries’ Social Media for To-Go Options
Many breweries are open for to-go only or have curbside options. If you’re lucky you live near a brewery like Torch & Crown that is doing local delivery! Since gyms are closed getting a nice walk out to your local brewery gives you some light exercise and fill your stock for at home happy hour. Don’t forget to tip!!!!!
Buy Gift Cards
Buy gift cards! Stock pile them for future Birthdays/Easter Baskets/Baby Showers, or buy them for yourself so future you can have a good time out at your local taproom when we get through this. This is an awesome way to keep breweries afloat – and you still get beer!
Restaurants, bars, gyms, spas, craftspeople, artists, and coffee shops are all struggling. All of the above applies to businesses that don’t serve beer. If you can do these things for the best support for the business:
Buy Direct. Amazon/Seamless/Etc. all take a cut. The business gets the most revenue when you buy direct.
Skip the Discount Code. (If you can afford it!)
Check Social Media. For guidelines on how businesses are still operating. Some businesses use agencies to update their website for now Instagram and Facebook are likely the best bet for the most up-to-date information. My local coffee shop is doing order ahead and then serving coffee through a window…no contact! My florist is selling specific plants curbside.
Accept Inconveniences. This is the first time some businesses are operating on a to-go or delivery model. Cut them a break while they learn. Also if you don’t need it now, get slower shipping, there are people getting the essentials sent through the mail. Yes, this merch is cool, but it can wait 🙂
We’re going to get through this together. And I can’t wait to see everyone on the other side! Again, if you need me, I’m here to talk, laugh, and do a virtual cheers!