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We're Local: To help with hiring, CoVA Brewing Co. gets creative on social media

cova brewing.jpg
Posted at 10:39 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 11:03:56-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Funny and engaging — An attention-grabbing Instagram reel shows employees at CoVA Brewing Company clumsily making their way through the day's tasks.

At its core, the video shows the staff at CoVA knows how to have a good time.

That's what the owners are counting on as they try to reach out to potential new employees.

"We wanted to create a space for community to gather and have fellowship and develop relationships and those same things apply to our staff," said Susan Bateman, who owns the brewery with her husband, Scott, and their partners Phil and Carla Smith.

The couples opened CoVA in July of 2020 on Shore Drive in Norfolk's East Beach section.

After powering through capacity restrictions, mask mandates and customers' cautionary decisions to stay home due to the spread of COVID-19, the brewery, which specializes in beer and coffee, faced the hurdle of the staffing shortage plaguing industries across the country.

At the same time, to keep a full taproom, you need to have good people working for you. The Batemans tell News 3 that social media creativity has helped in that regard.

"We realized early on, if we were going to build community in the city, that community needed to start with the owners and the staff and our relationships with one another," said Susan, who grew up in the nearby Ocean View area, as did her husband.

Of course, a location just a couple blocks from the beach doesn't hurt...with employees or customers.

"This is really a great spot because the outdoor space is excellent when the weather is nice certainly. It gives the customers an opportunity to spread out. Bring their kids, bring their dogs, bring their blankets and chairs and just enjoy friends and family outside," said Scott Bateman.

Next is using technology to get even more people in.

Co-owner Carla Smith says phone app Toast Takeout allows customers to order drinks in advance and then just grab and go when they arrive.

A brewery determined to build its numbers on both sides of the counter and find success by any means necessary.