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Portland breweries trying to make the best of mandatory closures

Some breweries are closed but others are offering to-go beer and food.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Thousands are out of work right now because of the mandatory closures of bars and restaurants. Those that are still working said they are just trying to make it through until things get back to normal.

Many businesses have had to make changes to keep things going, including local breweries.  

“I just think we all need to try to support each other the best we can and remember that your local restaurant or brewery is trying to make it through this, selling some to-go beer and food,” said John Harris, owner of Ecliptic Brewing.

Supporting local businesses could mean helping a few people in the service industry keep their jobs while thousands of others have been laid off. Harris said Ecliptic had to let 28 people go when they closed their restaurant.

“So, it's kind of tough. That's half our company, mostly,” Harris said.

Breakside Brewery had to make cuts as well.

“With the restaurants closed, we're not able to offer employment to a lot of those staff unfortunately, and so it's going to be a pretty big hit for them,” said Breakside Brewery’s Brewmaster Ben Edmunds. “It's one of the biggest reasons we're doing everything in our power to plan for offering full employment back to everyone once we start back up and things get back to normal.”

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In the meantime, Ecliptic and Breakside are still brewing beer. Both are also offering food and beer to go at their locations.

“We're not supposed to socially mingle, but like yesterday for instance, we were taking the food out to people's cars, they weren't coming in the restaurant, they were basically handing a bag over and that was it,” Harris said. “We're just trying to be as safe as we can.”

“We're also offering discounts,” Edmunds said. “We're doing 20% discounts just across the board at our own locations for beer to-go, as well as 30% for anyone who is being impacted by this financially. If they've lost a job or laid off or had hours cut, they can actually get an added discount.”

Breakside said it is also working on a delivery option.

"We really, really appreciate the support and are in need of it right now,” Edmunds said.

Not everyone has been able to stay open though. On their website, Assembly Brewing said it is closing for four weeks.

Many hope by then things will be back to normal, but it is still too early to tell.

“We're just taking it one day at a time, really,” Harris said.

“I mean, it's a time of huge uncertainty. We're really concerned about what the future holds and we're doing our best right now to stay optimistic and to plan for an extended shutdown,” Edmunds said. “But, this is totally unheralded and unprecedented so we're not sure what to expect.”

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