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Bartenders Tell Us The Local Breweries They’re Supporting During The Lockdown

These are trying times for everyone. Especially true for… gah, just about everyone who isn’t rich, at this point. The hospitality industry has been flat-out decimated. Try as these businesses might to stay afloat, without the communal aspect intact, things are freaking rough. While many of our favorite independent bars and restaurants remain open for pickup or delivery, they’re struggling to make up the revenue they’d normally get with customers filing in.

Local breweries and taprooms are no exception. According to the Brewer’s Association, breweries are doing so poorly that a recent poll of 455 breweries in 49 states found that 46% of those polled said they’d be forced to close their doors for good within the next three months unless the shutdown ends. This is why it’s extremely important to support your local breweries to whatever degree you can afford. Stop in, grab a six-pack (or three), buy some swag and gift cards for future use. Literally anything helps.

Many of our favorite bartenders are struggling as well, but that hasn’t stopped them from supporting their local breweries. We gave them a chance to shout out their friends, favorite brewers, and neighborhood spots.

Santa Monica Brew Works

Piero Procida, bartender at The London West Hollywood in Los Angeles

Santa Monica Brew Works is a favorite of mine. I believe you can immediately taste the difference in quality when something is local and crafty, versus a large-scale mass-produced beer claiming they are still craft. Santa Monica Brew Works is popular out here and quickly gaining notoriety but still small enough that they focus on quality of product. All their different beers are amazing. I don’t think there is one I don’t like. I support them because when locals are out here, they want to try something that represents them and where they are from. It’s a pride thing. I think when people taste this beer and discover how easy it is to drink, they truly garner a great appreciation for it. People are overwhelmed with the many types of beers out there now so even though they may not have tasted it, it still draws a certain comfort in knowing the beer is from where they are from.

Grimm Ales

Jordan David Smith, spirits director and head bartender at HALL in New York City

I’ve been a big fan of Grimm (Brooklyn, NY) since I first moved to New York, what feels like a lifetime ago (it’s been eight years – New York will do that to you). It’s a husband and wife team who started as homebrewers, then brewed nomadically, and were able to open a brewery and taproom in the eastern end of Williamsburg, and they’re some of the nicest and most talented yet down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet. They brew everything from adjunct-laden hyper-rich imperial stouts that I drink year-round like the crotchety old man I am to ethereally delicate softly floral sours. They also often host local artists in their taproom and frequently collaborate with other businesses and causes in the greater community.

Nightshift Brewery

James Arensault, director of food & beverage at Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard

Nightshift Brewery, known for doing events and promotions for charities and causes (specifically for women). I’m also supporting Trillium brewery, one of the fastest-growing breweries in the New England area. Another pick is Notch Brewery, not a great reason just a fan of the staff and their sessions. Devils Purse, summer selection is awesome (it’s a kolsch). I guess I’m supporting a few during these strange times.

Tola Brewery

Everson Rawlings, mixologist at Scrub Island Resort Spa and Marina in the British Virgin Islands

Our local brewery Tola Brewery has recently opened, and we have not had the opportunity to do a proper sampling. However, this will be one of my first stops after our 24-hour lockdown is lifted. We always try to support local brands as their products are fresh, accessible and we can form face to face relationships with the brand owners/managers.

Legion Brewing

Scott Daniel, bartender at The Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina

We always look to feature local beer on the majority of our taps in our Gallery, Ryal and Outdoor Pool bars, and appreciate the prominence of Charlotte’s brewing culture. Our Gallery Beer Dinner series has been a big hit with our patrons, as our chefs have collaborated with the likes of Legion Brewing, Wicked Weed and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery to produce wonderful pairing experiences.

Remedy Brewing

Zac Johnson, general manager with JJ’s Wine, Spirits, and Cigars in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

I try to support them all because Sioux falls is a tight-knit community and we all know each other. We do have some really good relationships with Remedy and WoodGrain, having done several barrel-aged collaborations with them, but we try to keep at least one beer from everyone in town on tap at all times.

Service Brewing

Brandon Carter, Chef at FARM in Bluffton, South Carolina

What local breweries am I supporting during these strange times? Service and River Dog are our favorites. Great people and great beers. It’s important to support your local breweries. They need it now more than ever.

New Belgium Brewing

Sebastien Derbomez, brand advocacy manager of William Grant & Sons

I moved to Denver more than a year ago and there are so many options out there! Right now, I support New Belgium Brewing, Avery Brewing and Hogshead Brewing purveyor of cask-conditioned ales — mostly because I simply enjoy their beer selection but I’m always up to try something new. And I often add a back of Tullamore D.E.W. to pair with my beer selection to make the perfect boilermaker.

Tank Brewing Company

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in South Beach, Florida

The Tank Brewing Co is on our handle at Bodega and I think they are putting out great stylistic representations across the board. Their La Playita Pils is a refreshing, crisp beer that hits the spot for me no matter what. If you want to pair with a heavier food, Farito IPA has what it takes.

Wynwood Brewing

Nicole Quist, beverage director at Bartaco in Aventura, Florida

Our beer menu is small + we’re proud to say almost entirely local. Love Wynwood Brewing and Veza Sur. It’s really important to us at Bartaco to support our local communities and we are proud to partner with these two at Aventura, with their own strong ties to Miami. I could crush a Wynwood La Rubia Blonde Ale or Veza Sur Spanglish Lager with a baja fish taco right now.