After five years in the business, I just sold my pub and cafe.
It has been quite the adventure and with the Coronavirus crisis hitting us in our last few weeks of ownership, the business made sure to stress us out right to the bitter end.
The stress for the new owners is unimaginable right now. What a time to make the leap.
Thankfully, the pub has a solid and loyal customer base in a bedroom community with limited competition. Despite only being allowed to do takeout service during this crisis, the pub has been doing relatively OK. Sales are a fraction of what they were during fully open times but with virtually no staff to pay, they should be able to squeak by until the lockdown ends and locals have really been stepping up to support their local watering hole. They will be back in full as soon as they can.
One of the measures the province put in place to mitigate the horrific damage being done to the hospitality industry was to back off on the regulation of takeout liquor sales. For now anyway, we are allowed to sell wine, bottled beer and draft beer with takeout orders from the pub.
Allowing us (I still work there for another week) to see draft beer in growlers (large takeout bottles) has been a saving grace. When the shutdown came, we had thousands of dollars in draft beer in the cooler and feared we would have no way to save it. I have always stubbornly only carried local craft beer on tap. Unfortunately, most craft beers don’t have preservatives and that stuff in the cooler has to be sold or dumped. We thankfully were given the means to sell it.
Many restaurants and bars will never open again after this crisis. In such a narrow-margin industry, owners simply won’t have the means to come back after the shutdown. People won’t have the funds to go out as much as they used to for years to come.
For those restaurants and bars that do remain in business, I see no reason why we can’t or shouldn’t allow them to continue to sell takeout liquor.
The world hasn’t ended since it has been allowed. Roving gangs of drunks haven’t been wandering the streets with their growlers. It really has done utterly no harm.
Draft beer is in right now. Craft breweries can use the boost in sales from bar taps for takeout service. Those breweries are facing a tough future as well.
We will be entering quite period of hindsight and introspection in the post-pandemic world. We need to look at every possible way to ease the burden on floundering businesses. I am sure there are many other areas where deregulation can aid many different industries.
Right now though there is one regulation that can easily be dumped permanently.
Let licensed facilities continue to sell their liquor products to go. It was always ridiculous preventing such sales in the first place.
Free the beer!