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Beer? Peanuts? Toothpaste? Boise Brewing looks to adapt, help other businesses in wake of pandemic

Like many small businesses, Boise Brewing saw a quick and immediate impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the business worked to adapt, it will be at least a few weeks before it can welcome guests again.

“It kind of turned our whole world upside down,” Boise Brewing President Colin Rudeen said. “It’s been bad, not surprisingly, but considering the circumstances, we’re doing alright.”

Like you might expect, revenue is down – off by half for the taproom according to Rudeen.

Pivot and adjust

Like many small businesses impacted by the pandemic, Boise Brewing worked to pivot and adjust quickly. First, the company adjusted staffing levels.

“We moved pretty quickly and as soon as the mayor had her shutdown order, it was pretty simple math: this isn’t going to work,” he said. “It’s better to make sure there’s unemployment and make sure there’s a business for people to come back to.”

A GoFundMe campaign raised $3,605, which employees split to help.

Then they started doing curbside pickup. That helped get brew into the hands of thirsty customers, but Rudeen said safety quickly became a top priority.

“We started online sales so we don’t have credit cards or cash going back and forth on the curb. People can look through the things we have from the comfort of their couch, and it’s packed up and ready to go when they come down here.”

More than just beer

They also linked virtual arms with other local businesses to add products that might go good with a bottle of Better Hazy Than Never.

“We’re carrying City Peanuts, Coffee from Iron Mule and cider from Cider Sisters,” Rudeen said. “We though ‘what can we do to add more incentive for people to come to our store and help other businesses as well?'”

JD’s Bodega owner Josh Davis told BoiseDev they teamed up with Boise Brewing as well. Now a selection of essentials from the locally-owned downtown store are available for pickup or delivery through Boise Brewing. Everything from toothpaste to batteries to tampons and hand sanitizer.

[Boise bodega keeps doors open, works through paycheck loan process to get employees back to work]

You can even buy a stake in the community-owned brewing business online.

Brighter days ahead?

Boise Brewing hopes the upcoming opening of restaurants this Saturday will help as well.

“Restaurants will open up which will help with draft sales, and we’ll see what happens,” Rudeen said.

Rudeen and the team also continue to focus on the quality of the beer. Even though some might go to waste, they hope to keep that to a minimum.

“We are pretty sure that the beer is going to be consumed in a good amount of time so you are getting that flavor you are expecting,” he said. “We want to maintain our standards for quality, but find an alternative way to sell beer, whatever that looks like.”

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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