Local breweries gain popularity, adapt to become highly profitable during pandemic

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — At Two Tides brewing company, beer is the name of the game. On Saturday it was all about the slushy-style beers, as they hosted their first annual slushfest.

“We’re seeing numbers that beat 2019 which is awesome, so I think being in an area like Savannah where we just have a ton of locals and community support, that has been helpful too,” said Liz Massey, owner of Two Tides brewing company.

Fruited sour-style beer and in this case, sour beer slushy’s have become exponentially popular in recent years. Some breweries see hundreds of anticipating customers camp out for hours overnight just to try their new selection or receive some merchandise, both of which can be sold online for a heavy profit.

“Hundreds of people, they’ll camp out even before. We actually took a refrigerated van,” said Richton Hammer, who came down from Kentucky for the event. “We rented a refrigerated van because sometimes the beers can like condense and stuff… so it was worth it. We always want to be the first in line.”

Some consumers, or connoisseurs if you will, travel the country just to try a nice sour sip. In some cases, reselling the beer online has its perks too.

“Last couple of days we went to Gettysburg, Pa. Been to Four Score brewing, we got the new ice cream release up there,” Hammer said. “Then we bounced over to Cambridge, MD, got the nightmare before Christmas release from RaR Brewing.”

“Then we went over to 450 North brewing, they got all the slushy beer. They released 14 new flavors, went down to Columbus, Ind., picked those up and then I just decided to scoot on down to Savannah, Ga. Heard it was a nice touristy town, so I came down here for Two Tides slushfest,” Hammer added.

That mentality has paved the way for small-scale breweries to hold highly anticipated beer releases and events just like this. Adapting to changes brought on from the pandemic has allowed many to increase their profits.

“During the pandemic, people have been able to get a lot of beers that maybe were like inaccessible to them, because a lot of beers are hitting distribution and stuff,” said Aaron Kauffman, sales manager at Other Half brewing company in Washington D.C., who opened up their brewery last October.

“I just think accessibility is the new normal, because like I said, the pandemic. People who were serving out of their tasting room had to find a new way to get the product out,” Kauffman said. “You’re seeing a lot of people distribute who have never distributed before, who never thought they would have to.”

The event featured collaborations with different breweries from up and down the east coast. From Tripping Animals brewing co. in Doral, Fl to Southern Grist brewing out of Nashville, Te, among a host of others.

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