PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor has been closed more this year than they've been open.
For the Tampa Bay business, staying open to serve customers ice-cold beer on Labor Day was an easy choice.
"We'd rather be open now that we have the opportunity to be," Travis Kruger, co-founder of the brewery, said. "It was something where it wasn't even hard to find an employee that was willing to work for that reason."
The brewery re-opened on August 7 after getting a food license and buying a hot dog cart. Before that, Kruger said they've been doing packaged beer and to-go only.
"July was dismal. That was probably the best way to describe it," Kruger said.
Since the pandemic began in March, Kruger said they'd lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On Memorial Day, the brewery was to-go only.
"I saw a customer every hour, so I just kind of stood here read a book," bartender Mandy Boldman said. "It's weird to come into an environment that's so quiet when you are used to people talking and hear about their lives."
Masks are required inside the brewery, and tables are socially distanced.
"We are doing our best to keep everyone safe, but be able to sell our beer, cause you know those tanks they need to be emptied and refilled it doesn't help when they cant be," Kruger said.
Without to-go canned beer, distributors, and a new growler machine to fill 32 ounces of beer to go, Kruger said they would've been in serious trouble. He's optimistic for the Fall, just like Boldman.
"We have this one guy, Ed, and we all love him. But, like we didn't see him for four months and he came back in, and we were like 'hey, it's Ed!' And the whole bar was so excited, and he was like 'wow' and we were like 'we were worried about you Ed cause we didn't see you.' He was just completely social distancing and staying at home," Boldman said.