As beer enthusiasts, we don’t really need a special day to support small breweries—we do it all the time. That’s why the Brewers Association’s Small Brewery Sunday campaign can seem a bit gimmicky during normal years.
This is not a normal year. The coronavirus pandemic dealt a blow to hospitality businesses of all kinds, including bars, restaurants, and brewery taprooms. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase—exponentially, at times—going into winter, many local and state governments are tightening restrictions on capacity and indoor dining. These restrictions will save lives, but they’ll also make it more challenging for many small businesses to endure the season.
That’s where we come in—us and our discretionary spending, a.k.a. our beer money. Small Brewery Sunday on November 29 is just a day—pretty arbitrary, in fact—but it’s also a reminder to support the kinds of businesses that we want to still exist when we emerge from the winter and, eventually, the pandemic.
So, what do we do? That’s the fun part. We do something that virtually all of us enjoy doing anyway: We buy beer.
A bit of guidance: The smaller the brewery, the more likely it is to need some extra business right now. These will typically be the ones that relied heavily on taproom draft-beer sales until March, and then leaned into selling beer curbside and to-go via their websites. The breweries whose beers regularly appear on your local supermarket shelves could still use your support, no doubt, but they’re also likely to be in less jeopardy going into the winter.
Don’t need any more beer? (I know, I’ve been doing some hoarding myself.) There are other options. Consider buying some merch from these breweries, or gift cards—these can go into stockings, or just save it for the future, thirstier version of yourself. Another idea: Gift someone an advent calendar of assorted beers from local breweries. Many breweries to-go sales sites also feature the option to buy a gratuity for the team—and they could also use the support right now.