JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has crushed small businesses throughout the nation.
Restaurants and bars are taking the brunt of the blow right now with restrictions being strongly enforced by the state. But one local brewery with some sharp thinking back in March, made a slight tweak to their business model, and it’s now paying dividends.
Stone Bridge Brewery opened in 2018 and they mainly brewed their beer, put it in kegs and served it primarily in to-go growlers and pint glasses in their taproom. But once shutdown orders were put in place and in-person dining was essentially stopped, Stone Bridge co-owner and head brewmaster Jeremy Shearer said they had to start thinking differently. “Once March hit, we knew the taproom model wasn’t going to be viable,” he told WTAJ. “We knew we had to jump over to a distribution model as quickly as possible.” So, that’s what they did, transitioning and taking more of a focus on canning beer and sending it out to distributors. That quick thinking months ago, is paying off in a big way today. “We were actually able to increase our sales, dramatically,” Shearer said.
From the recent sales, Stone Bridge Brewing Company has been able to upgrade its brewing system, allowing them to brew more beer at a time. Shearer says they’re quickly moving from being able to brew 150 gallons of beer at a time to over 600 gallons. “As we get one batch of beer moving in through the system, we can start a second batch, Shearer said. “That allows us to brew multiple beers.”
Stone Bridge is also upgrading in the food department, moving from a temporary food truck to a brand new kitchen and dining area. You can find them on Facebook, and visit them in person on Franklin Street in Johnstown.