New West breweries doing door-to-door deliveries

Steel & Oak Brewing Co. is trying to help folks stay hydrated amid the COVID-19 crisis by launching a beer-delivery service in New West.

Steel & Oak’s tasting room has been converted into a to-go-only counter and the seated space has been temporarily closed. The local craft brewery has also launched a beer-delivery service in New West for orders of a minimum of $40.

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“We do still have customers coming into the tasting room to get beer to go. They can still do that, but of course there are a lot of customers that don’t want to leave their house,” said Jorden Foss, co-owner of Steel & Oak. “We are taking precautions to basically check their ID but not handle anything, drop the beer at their door so they can pick it up, and just try and take the proper steps so they feel comfortable and our drivers, which is me at this moment, feel comfortable as well.”

Deliveries is something the craft brewery is legally allowed to do but hadn’t done before.

“People have been pretty receptive to it,” Foss said. “To be honest, I actually think we are delivering to people would want to have home delivery after all of this is all said and done. It could be a new revenue stream for us eventually, if we can get through everything.  We will see. Right now we are just taking it a day at a time.”

Because bars and nightclubs can’t guarantee patrons will meet social distancing requirements, the provincial health officer has required them all to close. That, combined, with the closure of Steel & Oak’s tasting room, is taking its toll on the local craft brewery.

“We will stop production probably next week,” he told the Record March 19. “We have another batch to brew, but after that there is really no point because we have a lot of beer in the tank right now waiting to be packaged. We obviously don’t know where it is going to go. We have no restaurant or bars, maybe a select few accounts. We don’t have the tasting room either for glasses or growlers or pints or anything. We really don’t have any avenues outside of packaged product. Liquor stores are still running so we are selling packaged product, but just based on the volume of beer that we make we really need both sales channels.”

Foss said it’s unknown how long production will be suspended for at Steel & Oak.

“Our product will have pretty good shelf stability,” he said. “The product that we have will last six months to eight months. The product that is actually in the tank still, we can leave it in the tank for a while and it will stay nice and fresh because we won’t be transferring it to cans or kegs. We are OK there. I just don’t want us to be overstocked.”

Steel & Oak has had to make some staff cuts and more people will lose their jobs temporarily.

“We have to weather the storm and try and make sure that we can hold on,” Foss said. “I am confident that Steel & Oak will be able to hold on, and we will be just fine. But obviously, it is scary times.”

Another Beer Co. in Sapperton is now operating as a beer store with deliveries. It’s working on plans to drop off some beer to its neighbours at Royal Columbian Hospital to say thank you to all the front line workers putting in long hours. 

As of March 19, BC Liquor Stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. In New Westminster, stores are located at Royal Square and Columbia Square.

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