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After delayed opening, new Arroyo Grande brewery finally able to serve customers inside

Humdinger Brewery

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- A new brewery and restaurant in the Village of Arroyo Grande is finally going to welcome customers inside the business starting Friday.

Humdinger Brewing was slated to hold its grand opening on March 17, but due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans had to be shelved.

"We were supposed to open on St. Paddy's Day, that was the big grand opening and basically the night before was when we heard they were going to cease all alcohol sales," said co-owner Lee Samways. "It was probably the worst timing I've ever heard of."

It was an unfortunate beginning for co-owners Samways and his partner Justin Amy.

The two local businessman were so close to completing a dream, which was to open a full-fledged brewing company.

The two started out as home brewers, creating beer in their garage.

Within just hours of opening for business, they were faced with the stark reality of trying to survive an international health crisis.

"Nobody really knew what was happening," said Samways. "It was a day-by-day, week-by-week type of an adventure and it was almost like every day you would have to adjust and get ready for a new issue or new information and be ready to move if you have to."

Within days, Humdinger was allowed to open, albeit by only providing curbside and delivery services.

"So far we've been getting really good reviews on the food and the beer, thank goodness!" said Samways. "So far the whole community has been really supportive. They've been showing up, which is a life-saver."

Although sales have been solid, to-go only sales has been a difficult way to establish a new business.

Now, after months of waiting, Humdinger is finally able to welcome in new customers.

On Wednesday, San Luis Obispo County received permission from the California Public Health Department to reopen in-restaurant dining.

"I cannot wait to bring people in here," said co-owner Justin Amy. "It's the reason we built this. I just love the fact that we can serve people and they can enjoy their beverages and food right in front of us. It's everything we ever wanted."

In order to open in-restaurant dining, businesses must complete the SLO County Self Certification Form.

It's to ensure each business creates a detailed risk assessment and has a site-specific protection plan in place.

"There's a few things we have to do to adjust and be ready," said Samway. "Groups no larger than six, they can't be within six feet of each other. A lot of the bar seating has been removed. Our tables are going to be spread out really wide and we're going to have barricades between everything. Our wait staff will be wearing masks. We're going to have somebody at the door making sure the appropriate amount of people are coming and going. And there's some signage we have to put up."

Humdinger is still finishing its form on Thursday, but Samways said it will be completed in time to kickoff what he is hoping will be a very successful Memorial Day weekend.

Business Matters / California / Community / Coronavirus / Economy / Lifestyle / Offbeat / San Luis Obispo County / What's Right

Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.