NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s no secret that COVID-19 has caused bars and restaurants to lose both money and patrons. But what about your local craft brewery? While taprooms across the nation are forced to close because of social distancing mandates and a decline in sales, one Argenta brewery is staying strong, beating the odds with some creative solutions – and an empty parking lot.
The beer hasn’t stopped flowing at the Flyway taproom, a North Little Rock craft brewery that’s managed to survive the pandemic. “We had to figure out a different way to have everybody safely spread out and still able to come,” said Ren Scott, Supervisor and Social Media Manager at Flyway Brewing Company. Scott and her team have had to get creative to avoid becoming another statistic. Across the nation, craft beer sales are down 8 percent and in only one year, breweries were estimated to have lost nearly $880 million from closed taprooms.
But Flyway hasn’t felt the burn. They’ve kept their taproom open by moving the party outside. “We’ve been really fortunate to have several places where we can have diners,” Scott explained. Flyway’s parking lot was turned into an outdoor dining room, a way visitors could enjoy a pint while also following COVID guidelines. “We did a really good job with pivoting to having outside dining during the summer season and as it started to get cooler, transitioning to having the greenhouses with the heaters and fire pits,” said Scott.
Besides newly introduced outdoor events and curbside pickup, Flyway credits their strong fanbase as one reason they’re still standing. “We’ve just been really fortunate to have lots of regulars still coming and lots of new customers that are still finding out about us,” Scott said. She adds that even in the midst of quarantines and closures, North Little Rock still supports their local businesses and will willingly (and safely) venture out for a good beer.