'It has been devastating:' Craft beer production down statewide

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are plenty of North Carolina homegrown beer options these days. Local brewers are crafting a variety of ales or lagers, but according to the industry's advocacy group, production is down on a statewide level because of the COVID-19 crisis.

"It has been devastating," North Carolina Brewers Guild Executive Director Richard Greene said.

The state craft-brew industry is a $2 billion economic engine and some small businesses are crashing during the pandemic.

The Guild said five breweries have called it quits so far. None in the Triangle.

Greene said the longer the virus lingers, "It will be a very difficult year for people."

There are 326 breweries across North Carolina. Greene estimated that 10 to 15 percent remain closed to the public as owners don't feel comfortable reopening taprooms for tastings.

Raleigh Brewing Company is expanding during the pandemic and opening a second location in Cary at The Arboretum Shopping Center off Harrison Avenue.

The place opened as the state was entering Phase 2.

"We just took a very conservative effort to make sure everything is sanitized and safe," said Raleigh Brewing Company Marketing Director Shannon Taylor.

Folks are starting to patronize the business and Raleigh Brewing is hoping to cement itself in the community.

"We did run into the disappointment of not being able to have a Grand Opening, but I think we've been lucky with just our fans and our friends and family be willing to come out and give us a try during this time," Taylor said.

The takeaway -- revenue is starting to come back for the brewers that have been able to survive, but many are trying to make up for lost time.

You can support the industry by purchasing products curbside or at your local grocery store.
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