Springtime is usually supposed to be prime season for local breweries.
With St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day weekend and visitors flocking to beaches, local brewers look forward to a big spike in sales and production.
This year, of course, the coronavirus had other plans.
As local businesses face an unprecedented economic downturn, Savannah breweries too have adapted to find new ways to keep their custom brews, and sales, flowing.
For Two Tides Brewing Company on 41st Street, that meant pivoting their focus toward to-go orders and curbside pickup.
“We’ve had a pretty steady stream of sales,” said owner James Massey. “It’s certainly nothing like our ordinary level of business but we are surviving with local support for to-go sales.”
Massey and wife Liz formed Two Tides after a love of home brewing their favorite beers. The couple enjoy spending time out on the water and named their project after the staple two tides each day found in their native coastal city.
Two Tides Brewing Company is open for to-go orders 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
Though the brewery’s indoor tap room is currently closed for the safety of patrons and staff, Two Tides features a to-go window where visitors can order their favorites beers or bring a growler to fill up.
Last week, Greg Jaszka pulled up to the curb outside the brewery to pick up a few four packs of his favorite beers. Jaszka is visiting relatives here from Buffalo, NY and says he always make a point to swing by Two Tides to have a taste.
“This is probably my fourth or fifth time coming out here,” Jaszka said. “We just checked out the spot on whim a couple of years ago. I’m proud to be a supporter all the way from western New York.”
For craft brew fans, Two Tides staff recommend their Six-Foot IPA, one of the breweries core productions, or the Intertidal, a lemon-lime flavored, sour gose brew.
With all of the unforeseen changes brought on by the coronavirus, the Masseys credit the survival of their brewery to the support from their devoted customers.
“We’ve always appreciated them but now more than ever this pandemic has been very trying for small businesses so we really appreciate them continuing to support us,” Massey added.
Down on River Street, Service Brewing Company has become a favorite spot for locals to grab a cold beer to enjoy on the outdoor patio.
Owner Kevin Ryan has plans to expand outdoor seating to safely accommodate even more visitors. The brewery’s current setup features food trucks in the evenings to keep hungry visitors fed, at a safe social distance.
Ryan says Service Brewing Company was looking forward to a strong spring just before the coronavirus shutdown.
“The timing couldn’t have been worse for Savannah businesses in general, especially for breweries,” Ryan shared. “Our most productive months are March through May, not only St. Pat’s day but leading up to Memorial Day weekend with a lot of people in town drinking draft beer.”
The brewery changed up its delivery method to include to-go orders and pickup at their curbside garage. Ryan began making small batch specialty beers each week to keep customers coming back for a tasty limited run.
“Ironically, the weather has been so amazing during the entire shutdown that we’ve had a lot of people who just want to get a pint of beer and walk down River Street or find an open seat nearby and enjoy the weather,” he added.
Service Brewing Company is a veteran-owned craft brewery spawned from Ryan’s love for home brewing and the artistic passion of his partner Meredith Sutton, a SCAD graduate. The brewery is open noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for to-go orders and outdoor seating.
Ryan recommends Service Brewing Company’s new Kveik Yeast IPA, which features yeast from Norway, offering a hazy citrus flavor, or their Gun Bunny, a refreshing Belgian white beer featuring hints of coriander and mandarin orange.
On a sunny afternoon last week, half of the brewery’s four outdoor high-top tables were already filled by 2 p.m. with young craft beer fans.
Savannah local Haigh Angell was showing his friend Gabrielle Lonsberry around downtown during a visit from Atlanta.
The pair had already visited another brewery but were disappointed it didn’t offer any outdoor seating, so they headed to Service Brewing Company to find an open seat.
“The to-go option is great but we also like to have the brewery atmosphere so that’s why we came out here,” Angell said.
“We just wanted to get out of the house,” Lonsberry added.