SWFL brewery jumps at chance to reopen, hopes state expands guidelines

As more types of businesses in Florida are given the green light to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, businesses such as bars and movie theaters remain in limbo.

But there is an opportunity for breweries to reopen their doors now. And we visited a local business in Southwest Florida, where the owner is happy to get back to what they do.

Breweries in Florida can return to business operations and serving customers as long as they allow food trucks on their properties.

We visited Millennial Brewing Company in Fort Myers, where the music is a good giveaway it was back open for business Sunday.

Employees at Millennial say they’re starting to get back to normal unlike some other breweries. Inside Millennial Brewing the chairs are stacked, and the floor is empty. Owner Kyle Cebull has needed to adjust to the times to keep things going like many others in the region.

“We launched a really great pickup and delivery program that helped us get through the first couple of months,” Cebull said. “Those sorts of efforts really run out of steam, especially, because when restaurants open, people want to go out.”

As restaurants and retail shops begin to allow more people inside, breweries are left on the outs. Thankfully Cebull has been given a chance to open his doors, all thanks to the food trucks that operate on his lot.

“We started to kind of communicate with the people in charge and tell them that we want to follow the rules,” Cebull said. “We want everybody to be safe, but we’re a little bit more like a restaurant than we are a bar … We were given approval yesterday to allow people to come, order drinks and sit outside,”

Cebull says the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation gave his business the opportunity to allow outdoor seating because they sell food.

Cebull says it’s a step in the right direction. A full Phase 1 reopening will begin Monday. Cebull said he’s hoping, in the next coming weeks, breweries will get better guidelines from the state on what they can and can’t do.

“We’re just looking for a little more understanding from the state to say, ‘Yes. These people are serving food and therefore let’s go ahead and kind of put them at the restaurants,’” Cebull said. “And allow us to do some of the same things that they’re doing.”

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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