Skip to Content

THE FUTURE OF BREWERIES: Rochester companies weathering the pandemic ahead of fall season

LTS Brewing Company

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) - With more than a hundred breweries in the state, Minnesota's economy benefits from craft beer enthusiasts.

"I think it's extremely important and the state hasn't really done much," said Andrew Jevne, head brewer at Forager Brewery.

Classified as a brew pub and not a brewery, Forager is not allowed to sell its products at liquor stores.

"We just really would love it if the people that are voting against the breweries would see that these are positive businesses not focused on binge drinking but community-based experiences," Jevne said.

Many breweries have found a new way to stay alive even with closed taprooms.

"Trying to sell a lot more beer to go as consumers are going that route instead of consuming on site," said Andrew Diephuis, taproom manager at LTS Brewing Company.

State law prohibits breweries from selling in larger containers, which leaves a lot of product sitting around.

"It's been a struggle I'm not going to lie but I think we should be able to make it through the fall and winter unless things get really bad," Jevne said.

Forager has had its share of troubles. Shortly after reopening, an employee caught the coronavirus outside of work."We kept a couple of our full-time employees on to come in and paint and do some things we don't normally have time to do," Jevne said. "We did shut down two weeks in July which hurt our numbers there."

LTS may have smaller crowds this summer but has put on events outside all summer, including celebrating its 5th year anniversary.

"We got to kinda tone that down and make sure we're not getting at capacity and keeping party sizes to six a table," Diephuis.

Brewers are hopeful they can survive the tough situation through business from loyal customers.

"It's been an interesting year for sure," Diephuis said. "We've had a lot of support from the community and we're still selling beer."

Forager's staff also thanks its customers.

"We wouldn't be open without you guys," Jevne said. "Thanks so much."

While mostly an inconvenience, the pandemic has forced breweries to try new things that have been successful. LTS launched an online shop and Forager is offering meal kits to go.

Forager also plans to open up on September 8th for indoor seating and it currently working to adjust seating so customers can be properly spaced.

Alex Tejada

Skip to content