Since mid-March, when the pandemic hit, businesses have had to close or adapt. At Rabid Brewing, they adapted.
Owner Raiye Rosado said that she can’t think of one aspect of the business that hasn’t been affected and undergone some kind of change.
“From a tactical perspective, we added capabilities to accept remote orders and payments, and adjusted the format we primarily sold from glasses to crowlers and now to cans,” she said.
“We added a line of custom merchandise featuring the label art for our beers. We also changed how we connect and engage with customers doing whatever we could to bring the taproom experience to the customer even from afar."
The craft brewery has depended on a whimsical sense of humor to keep customers entertained and engaged.
"For a couple of months, I delivered beer wearing a T-Rex head," Rosado said. "Steve Buchtel from Goodspeed Cycles became the Beer Fairy and delivered beer to his neighbors in the Old Homewood neighborhood on his bike. We’ve also been producing a Facebook Live broadcast five days a week called Quarantine Beer with Tobias and Raiye. Tobias and I drink a beer, talk about the latest COVID-19 and other news, and share a fun top five list.”
With the taproom closed, they initially were offering beer for online ordering with curbside pick-up. They later added service at their 4,000 square-foot Beer Field for customers to sip outdoors.
Now that the state has moved into phase 4, the couple plans to re-open the tasting room soon.
Shifting to canning their product was a game changer, and in late May they did their first run of canning three different beers using the services of a mobile canner.
“Putting our products in cans will provide the greatest flexibility going forward, giving us the ability to sell directly to consumers as well as through wholesale outlets. This flexibility is vital in the face of a less than clear future,” said Rosado.
Even with the modifications, the business has taken a big hit financially, and like many other small businesses, they’ve been doing their best to chug along and survive.
“Losing our summer festival business on top of closing our taproom has been devastating,” Rosado said. “Since opening the Beer Field on May 29, things are looking up, but it will take a long time to catch up.”
She and her husband, Tobias, are grateful for the ongoing support from regulars and the Homewood community at large.
“Our customers are so amazing," said Rosado. "The support from the community has been overwhelming. We wouldn’t have made it through this far without them.”