Beer is not on the top of my shopping list as I prepare to practice social distancing and brace for a seemingly inevitable quarantine. Canned vegetables, dry pasta, a galaxy of beans and rice, these are the essentials I'm stocking up on in the event I'm mandated to spend prolonged time indoors. Like every level-headed person, I am methodically preparing for the worst.
So too are your local breweries, and for that reason, a couple of four-packs will certainly make their way into my cart.
"My inbox is full, breweries are really worried," says Paul Leone, executive director of the New York Brewers Association. "It's mostly the unknown of what's going to happen if you have to close up."
As of 8 p.m. Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced all bars and restaurants will be closed, but any product can still be sold for takeout. Like most small businesses, breweries operate on a razor thin margin, with most proceeds injected right back into operations. A weeks-long pause in business could be devastating.
"Worst case scenario, some breweries might not survive this," Leone says.
Leone and the Brewers Association are working with the state Liquor Authority to try and negotiate some temporary help for breweries, like allowing them to offer at-home deliveries.
"Luckily, the Liquor Authority is moving pretty quickly on this, but these are very short-term options," Leone says.
Right now, there is a Baltika Brew Collection Russian Imperial Stout, straight from Mother Russia, chilling in my fridge. It is the only non-local beer I'll be drinking for the foreseeable future. Now is the time for the people who believe in local beer to put their money where their mouth is and only buy beers brewed within a reasonable drive from your home.
It's a good time for it too. Rohrbach Brewing recently re-released the beloved Griddle Cakes -- unbelievably, the second blueberry pancake ale I've written about this year -- and Spencerport's Brindle Haus has released an all NYS Pale Ale in collaboration with Verona Street Animal Society, complete with photos of shelter pups on each can.
The immediate future is hard to predict. In times like this, it's paramount to not only celebrate what makes your community special, but play your part in ensuring those special pieces aren't left behind.
Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.