Coronavirus Taproom Closure: What Craft Breweries Need to Know

Across the country, many breweries have been forced to close their taprooms to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. As they focus on new ways of serving consumers and new sources of revenue, it’s important not to lose focus on the taproom itself.

Craft breweries must take steps to ensure their draught system stays healthy. Otherwise, when the taproom re-opens, they face potential expense and quality concerns in getting the system back up and running.

“If beer is left stagnant in draught lines for too long, the system will be at risk of an irreversible bacterial contamination,” the Brewers Association points out. “Taking the right steps can prevent you from having to deal with dangerous gas leak hazards, costly draught line contamination, or even more expensive draught line replacement.”

Keeping the Draught Lines Clean

Contact your system cleaner to see if you’re able to get a standard cleaning. Be sure all couplers are scrubbed clean and all faucets disassembled for detailing.

Following the chemical cleaning, you have two choices. You can pack the lines with beer, if you believe you’ll be able to get another standard cleaning scheduled in two weeks. Or you can pack the lines with water instead. Note that some brands of barrier tubing are not compatible with extended exposure to tap water.

Other Considerations

Be sure you keep your cooler running, to prevent damage to the beer stored there. Higher temperatures could affect beer flavor and cause your brews to go flat. Additionally, those higher temps could encourage mold growth.

Speaking of mold growth: be sure you regularly clean floor and walls of the cooler to prevent it.

Turn off the gas supply to the draught system. This will help prevent dangerous gas leaks.

Contact your brewery insurance agent to be sure you understand the protection you have in place. While business interruption policies do not typically have “virus” as a covered peril, you will need to check on your spoilage/ contamination coverage and your commercial property coverage. If the beer you’re storing goes bad, will your policy help you recoup costs or lost profits? If your draught system is damaged by extended non-use, will your policy assist in repair or replacement?

Pouring may be at a minimum, but the business of your brewery goes on.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.