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Local breweries ready to brew up business for Small Brewery Sunday

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Posted at 6:17 AM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 23:20:42-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Wash your favorite mug and make some plans to go to your favorite brewery this Small Brewery Sunday.

Small Brewery Sunday is, essentially, the Small Business Saturday for breweries. Breweries across the nation and locally are looking to capitalize on this day, especially as breweries have also felt an economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think it's going to be one of many lifelines that each of us as individuals can do and support, and contribute to these businesses,” Ann Obenchain, the marketing director for the Brewer’s Association, said. “They were resilient. These businesses were resilient at the beginning. They may not be as resilient right now."

The Brewers' Association started Small Brewery Sunday in 2019. The makeshift holiday’s goal is to help and promote breweries and ramp up business.

Obenchain said lots of breweries are hoping to see a third Small Brewery Sunday. That is because the brewer's association said that 78% of breweries they surveyed across the nation say they're not sure if they think they'll be around this time next year. Economic impacts from the pandemic were the leading factors for this result.

Master Craft Brewery in Norfolk is one brewery that felt a hit. The brewery's head brewer, Michele Lowney, said their profits are down compared to last year.

Also last year, the brewery participated in the first Small Brewery Sunday and is glad to be participating to promote their brewery for a second year.

"Everybody is very open and together. It helps each other out," Lowney said. "We don't have to pay for promotion material; they kind of do it all and we put it out there."

She added competing breweries have actually joined forces during the pandemic to help support one another.

"We all help each other; we all want to see each other succeed," Lowney said. "I'm out of hops, I can call Smartmouth and borrow hops from them or any other brewer."

Supporting local breweries will not be hard because Obenchain said most Americans live within 10 miles of one.

"The more that beer lovers and customers can do to support not only breweries but other small businesses during this time is going to be critical."

Related: Turnout better than expected for some on Small Business Saturday

Several local association-member breweries are participating in Small Brewery Sunday. That includes Maker’s Craft Brewery.

To check out other local participating breweries, click here to find your closest brewery listed by the Brewer's Association.