Austin breweries may not be able to host you in their taprooms, but that doesn’t mean they all have stopped brewing fun new beers.
Shortly after the city mandated in mid-March that bars and restaurant dining rooms close, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, one local brewer wondered whether offering beer to go — the main way, besides retail, that breweries have been able to continue making money in the past month — would remain a novelty for customers. Would they buy a few six-packs the first week to take home, and then slowly those sales would shrivel up, too?
So far, business has been better than expected for a number of local beer makers, although it’s nowhere near pre-coronavirus levels. Breweries across the state have seen their revenues plummet an average 71%, according to a Texas Craft Brewers Guild poll.
Still, producers like Zilker Brewing keep cranking out fresh beers in the hopes to-go orders continue. Next up for Zilker, which is celebrating five years in business this month, is the taproom-only Stir-Crazy Hazy IPA that was crafted with these days of sanity-trying home seclusion in mind. Featuring puzzle pieces on the can label, the IPA releases for curbside pick-up this weekend in four-packs.
The ingredients to make the beer and the design for its branding were all donated free of charge to Zilker by Malteurop Malting, Hollingbery Hops, designer Sam O'Brien and R/GA.
>> RELATED: Austin breweries join worldwide beer collaboration to help struggling service industry
And the East Austin brewery is paying it forward: Zilker will donate a portion of the sales to a handful of neighboring bars and restaurants, as well as "purchasing 50 medium CSA boxes that can feed 3-4 people to donate to industry workers for pick up at the brewery," Zilker Brewing community manager Eva Vaughn said.
"Our goal is to keep it hyper-local and to make an immediate impact on the people we know directly," she said.
Oh, and you have an incentive to snag Stir-Crazy cans as soon as they are available for purchase on Zilker’s online ordering system. (They go live on Saturday, with a pre-sale starting Friday.) If you have one of the first 35 orders, according to Vaughn, you’ll get to take home a little puzzle with your four-pack cans. And oh, boy, with all this home quarantining going on, jigsaw puzzles have never been in more demand.