For BC breweries, 2020 has been a year like no other. To get specific about what the industry has been through, What’s Brewing has reached out to a number of BC breweries for an insider view of their experiences. Today, we feature the brightest brewery on the block: Yeast Van’s Andina Brewing. Let’s hear about how 2020 has gone from founder Andrés Amaya.
Q&A with Andres Amaya, Proprietor, Andina Brewing
Q: When the shutdown hit in March, how badly were you affected at first?
A: Extremely badly, as I am sure most of the places you’ve asked were; we had to shut down our tasting lounge, having to lay off 95% of our staff. As restaurants and pubs closed as well, our keg sales went to zero.
Q: What was demand like for you during the lockdown? How much did you shift to retail, packaging and online sales?
A: We maintained our lounge open for off-sales of canned product and food. Luckily, our customers were extremely supportive and demand was steady throughout the lock down. I would say that probably 90% went to retail, while 10% went to online sales. This was 100% of canned products.
Q: How much of your staffing have you been able to retain?
A: Again, we consider ourselves extremely lucky, we did not lose any of our staff as they all returned to work with us. As matter of fact, due to the Covid-19 health regulations, we had to hire two additional team members to help us serve our customers.
Q: How was tasting room traffic for you after reopening this past summer?
A: In summer, our lounge got to about 50% of the normal traffic pre-COVID 19.
Q: How have things gone with reopening? What was the most inconvenient aspect?
A: Everyone has had to adapt to the new way of doing things, which of course has been difficult with only 50% occupancy in our lounge. Having to ask customers to follow the protocols has certainly been a challenge for all our team members. Unfortunately, some people simply do not follow the rules.
Q: What’s your policy around growlers and refills? Any other noteworthy adjustments you’ve had to make?
A: We are providing growlers fills, but we are sanitizing them pre- and post-filling, making this a whole new process.
Q: Are you waiting on or affected by any legislation? What do you think the province or your municipal government should be doing next?
A: COVID-19 is here to stay and is not going anywhere until a proper vaccine is found. The patio/lounge extension allowance should be extended beyond October 31st—for at least one more year, if not permanently.
Andina Brewery Tour
Andina boasts a well-appointed tasting room up front, as well as a bonus lounge for rent in back!