Fall has brought with it many things: colder nights, shorter days, and — for Massachusetts brewers and taproom owners — a growing sense of dread.
Brewers expect to be able to operate outdoor operations into early November at the latest, before their business model again faces upheaval because the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have 60 days left,” said Sam Hendler, president of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild and co-founder of Jack’s Abby Brewing. "I can't imagine a ton of establishments will be able to go particularly far into November. I'm sure we will see a surge in sales of outdoor propane heaters and the like, but there's only so far you can go in New England."
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To date, breweries, along with many restaurants, have survived largely by opening outdoor spaces, transforming parking lots and nearby plots of grass into makeshift beer halls and dining rooms with tents, umbrellas, tables and chairs. The plan has been so successful that some breweries have pulled back on indoor beer-garden spaces even though they are now allowed to reopen.