With its original business cut back significantly, Ponoka’s Siding 14 Brewery hopped on the wagon early to help out.
Once the province initiated measures to quell the spread of COVID-19, 0wners Josh and Femke Lubach figured their business was in for a huge change so they started to think of what else they could to.
“We knew we needed to adapt our business model and felt there was a need for sanitizer, so we applied for a Health Canada licence by March 30,” explained Josh in an email.
“It took us until mid-April to receive proper licensing. We made the product available shortly after.”
The operation has produced about 1,000 bottles of their hand sanitizer by making 50 litre batches at a time, as per regulations from the World Health Organization.
Meanwhile, the reaction has very good from the community overall.
“We have had good uptake since releasing it and our local community appreciates it. We got into this because we felt there was a need in Alberta and thought we should do our part,” he said.
“It is in strong demand for now but I think this need will be filled because several breweries and distilleries have jumped on board.”
As for their actual business, it’s been different and difficult for the brewery, but they remain open and can’t wait for the restrictions to be lifted.
“The initial hit to our business was an incredible blow, with our keg business being a large part, when all of the bars and restaurants got shut down and our business dried up. Also, our taproom had to close, diminishing our cash flow from that part of the business,” he said.
“We have had to lay off 90 per cent of our taproom staff temporarily. We have also had to let one of our sales staff go. We have reduced our staff by five people and we hope to bring our taproom staff back once we are allowed to open.”
While places such as Siding 14’s taproom unable to fully reopen yet under the province’s re-launch plan, the taproom is operating on a limited basis while the Lubach’s have added another service.
“Our taproom is open for off sales and hand sanitizer purchases Tuesday thru Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m,” he said.
“We have launched a delivery service that runs six days a week in Edmonton, Calgary and Ponoka with significant success. We have been canning most of our product, for now, to adapt to the current market conditions. We are also definitely looking forward to be able to reopen and see people enjoying their favourite beverage on our patio.”