From car dealerships to legal pot shops, Nevada’s “nonessential” business shutdown to mitigate spread of COVID-19 has seen a fair share of tweaks and clarifications since it was announced by Gov. Steve Sisolak last month.
After a period of uncertainty, the list of “nonessential” businesses can now add a new category: the state’s small craft beer industry.
Although not initially listed on the state’s list of essential and nonessential businesses, subsequent clarifications published by the state have led municipalities to direct breweries that don’t serve food to cease direct sales, curbside pickup and delivery of all ales and lagers, and stick only to wholesale.
While craft beer isn’t “essential” in the sense that it’s needed by people to survive, many of the 48 craft brewers in the state have complained that halting curbside pickup or beer delivery is a step harsher than those taken by many neighboring states — including California, Arizona and Colorado.
Nevada Craft Brewers Association President Matt Johnson, who owns and operates IMBIB Custom Brews in Reno, said Nevada’s beer industry is already feeling the effects of the pandemic, with most businesses (including his) forced to do layoffs. He said that wholesale shipping was not a realistic way to keep the industry afloat in a turbulent time.
“The distribution game only works financially if you’re a much larger brewery; it’s really marketing for us,” said Nevada Craft Brewers Association President and IMIB Custom Brews owner Matt Johnson. “While it’s allowable, unless we negotiate a new contract, there’s no way for us to get beer out of doors right now.”
Nevada’s craft brewing industry — a broad term that typically applies to any small and independent brewer — has grown substantially over the past decade. According to data collected by the Brewers Association trade group, the number of Nevada