Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Surly has had to adapt, change, pivot, and change again, all in the hope of pushing the two sides of the business–the Brewery and the Beer Hall–through this unprecedented situation and the economic disaster that’s followed.
The Beer Hall had to make the most significant changes to adapt to a crumbling restaurant industry and the demands of city, state and federal COVID-19 health and safety regulations. As we complied fully with the safety measures, it became clear that beer halls are by definition gathering places and gathering places and pandemics don’t mix. Because of this, we have made the gut-wrenching decision to close the Beer Hall indefinitely on Nov. 2.
We ran all the numbers. We looked at all the possibilities. But try as we might to find a way to keep the doors open and our team employed, the writing was on the wall: There was no longer a way forward for the Beer Hall. Since the start of the pandemic, Beer Hall revenues are down 82% compared with the same period last year. If the Beer Hall remained open, Surly would lose at least another three quarters of a million dollars this winter. A drastic change was needed to stabilize the company and ensure the continued operations of our core business, brewing.
The timing of this announcement is not ideal. On Monday, some hospitality employees notified us of their intent to unionize. We respect their decision to turn to an outside organization for representation and will continue the dialogue. That does not change the fact that our plans to close the Beer Hall were put in place weeks ago with the announcement planned for this week.
As we close the doors of the Beer Hall, we’re still moving forward. We’ll adapt, change, pivot, and change again. Please support your local bars and restaurants as they face the tough times ahead.