Ventura County is officially in the less restrictive orange tier of the state’s reopening plan. This is big news for wineries and breweries.
The move means wineries and breweries can open indoors without food service. Carey Jonker owns Transmission Brewing in Ventura. The brewery opened just before COVID hit.
“We opened in January of last year and had a good two and a half months before the first shutdown,” said Jonker.
Transmission Brewing is connected to Toppers Pizza, which allowed Jonker to keep his business open. Others that don't serve food had to figure out a way to stay open during the pandemic.
“It used to be if it was a brewery tap room you could survive on the beer, and food trucks weren’t also as reliable,” said Jonker. “I think this pushed a lot of places to really nailing down their food options and creating a more restaurant type offering.”
Breweries and wineries can open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. That means more customers and revenue.
“One symbolic thing is, during that first shut down we put a bunch of chairs above our rafters and put those up there for storage and we are for the first time since the first shutdown we are taking those back down, and they are landing in our dining room,” said Jonker.
As the state hopes to fully reopen on June 15th, Jonker is excited to see his brewery full, as he envisioned it.
“The sentiment of people changes when we go to these next tiers, and people start feeling more comfortable, and they are more ready to go out and socialize, or go out with their family and have an experience rather than just getting the takeout and delivery,” said Jonker. “So I am excited to see people out and happy to be out.”