Made in the Northwest: Lumberbeard Brewing adjusts focus to survive shutdown

Lumberbeard Cans
The COVID-19 shutdown has forced Lumberbeard Brewing to shift its focus to selling cans in order to stay afloat.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Lumberbeard Brewing enjoyed a successful first three months in Spokane. But everything changed in mid-March when businesses were forced to close because of COVID-19.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” said president and head brewer Bret Gordon.

When the COVID-19 shutdown began, Gordon was forced to lay off his entire staff.

“Luckily, we got a PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan that came through. And so, I got to hire a couple back, which was a lifesaver,” explained Gordon. “You know, working 60-70 hours a week is not very fun.”

Initially, Gordon’s business plan was to sell kegs to local bars and restaurants, along with growlers and growlers in the taproom. But the shutdown has forced him to revise that plan and sell cans of beer to consumers instead.

“People like growlers and growlers and that kind of thing, but it’s much easier to take a four-pack. You’re not committing to drinking 64 ounces of beer in one night,” laughed Gordon. “You know, you can sparse it out in between a week.”

Lumberbeard also set up an online store so you can order beer with the click of a button.

“People love being able to just order stuff online, come in, it’s already paid for, they don’t have to touch anybody, they don’t have to touch anything,” said Gordon. “Or, I mean, we can even take it out to the car for them.”

Lumberbeard spread out the tables in its taproom, so it can welcome customers when Spokane County enters Phase Two of the re-opening process. And as much as Gordon can’t wait for that day to arrive, he knows most of you can’t either.

“People are jonesing for this to be over and they’re definitely ready to get out and not be in their houses anymore.”

And be able to enjoy a beer or two in the taproom of a new local brewery.