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A Fort Myers Brewing Co. owner calls second shutdown worse than first time

For the second time in 2020, Fort Myers Brewing Company can’t seat customers. And this time, part-owner Jennifer Whyte says it’s worse. To-go sales are half of what they were during the first shut down. Not only has some of the shop local morale died down, but customers have the option to go to a restaurant, where they can be seated.

“People want to come out here, and they want to sit with their family, have a burger from the food truck, have a beer and maybe let their kids run around,” Whyte said, “They can’t do that here, but they can do it at a restaurant down the street.”

While Fort Myers Brewing Company usually has at least one food truck on site, the state still considers the facility a bar because they don’t own the food truck license.

As a result, Whyte says they went from the being the third busiest taproom in the state to sporadic to-go sales.

“Our taproom has been to-go only for more weeks of this year in 2020 than we’ve actually been open,” Whyte said.

While they’re fortunate to have received both a bridge and PPP loans, that well went dry for them two weeks ago.

“We have a bill coming due in August for one ingredient of our beer, hops,” Whyte said. “We’re not going to use those hops this year, but that’s still due,” Whyte said.

So, instead of using their savings for an expansion project, it’s being used as a life raft.

“I don’t think my husband or I have gotten a full night’s sleep since March,” Whyte said.

But despite the bad breaks, Whyte remains optimistic.

Some local, big-name stores, like Whole Foods and Target, are carrying their new spiked seltzer products.

And from Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 19, Fort Myers Brewing Company is teaming up with Momentum Brewhouse and Palm City Brewing Company for a “Crowler Crawl.”

MORE: “Crowler Crawl” event details – Fort Myers Brewing Company

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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