100 Florida breweries could close permanently if COVID-19 shutdown lasts for more than 2 more weeks, guild says

ORLANDO, Fla. — Members of the Florida Brewers Guild took to social media on Tuesday sharing an open letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation pleading for help to allow breweries to reopen for on-site consumption.

The letter, which was shared by several Orlando area breweries, states that if breweries are not able to reopen for more than two more weeks, more than 100 breweries in the state may have to close permanently.

With that, they said, nearly a third of the 10,000 jobs supported by the industry would disappear.

“Coronavirus

READ: Orlando bar owners react to statewide ban on selling alcohol for on-site consumption

“The entire Florida Craft Brewing Industry is now in jeopardy,” the letter states. “For the first time in recent history, the number of active breweries has actually decreased in number, and it is our fear that this trend will rapidly accelerate if we do not find a way to balance the health of our community with the economics of our industry.”

The guild said that some breweries have been allowed to open for on-site consumption with certain food licenses. But others that were allowed to reopen during the first COVID-19 shutdown due to an exemption by pairing up with food trucks, are forced to operate only selling beer to go.

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“The vast majority of breweries in Florida (approximately 90%) have been closed in 2020 for more days than they have been open,” the letter stated.

The Facebook page of Orlando brewery Redlight Redlight posted the letter with a message for its supporters: “Our dearest State of Florida, we desperately need your help. This is not sustainable,” they wrote. “Don’t left Craft Beer disappear. Don’t let Redlight Redlight disappear.”

Our dearest State of Florida, we desperately need your help. This is not sustainable. ⠀ Don’t left Craft Beer disappear....

Posted by Redlight Redlight on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Rock Pit Brewery shared a similar message pleading for help to keep the industry afloat.

“Some breweries are not going to survive this shutdown,” they wrote. “People will lose their jobs. This is our last chance at an attempt to push to reach a solution.”

Help us spread the message. Breweries need your help. Share these images or the letter on Facebook and make sure you...

Posted by RockPit Brewing on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Channel 9 reporter Jeff Deal is reaching out to the guild and the governor’s office and will provide the latest updates on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.