The coronavirus pandemic has brought uncertain times for small businesses across the Coachella Valley, but a few local breweries are testing out new tactics to meet the challenge.
Some valley breweries have added delivery options to their menus in order to supply a homebound -- and thirsty -- local population of beer drinkers.
"What I'm seeing is there has been a lot of support from the local community,'' said Devon Sanchez, founder of Desert Beer Company in Palm Desert.
"It's still new to me, this whole delivery option, but people have been really nice.''
The 32-year-old Sanchez said that despite his taproom shuttering due to the COVID-19 emergency, his regular customer base has stepped up to help by placing delivery orders, some small, some larger.
Sanchez had planned to buy a much-needed piece of equipment following a few months of sales after opening up on Washington Street last summer. Then the coronavirus outbreak hit. After shutting down his taproom and cutting hours for the five full- and part-time workers he employees, Sanchez put his plans for a crowler machine used to can 32-ounce beers on hold.
But he didn't close. Sanchez now opens up six days a week from noon to 5 p.m. for to-go orders. He also delivers 64-ounce beer growlers himself in his truck to select local cities (not Palm Springs due to the distance from his shop) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. after shutting down his shop. All Sanchez asks is a $5 delivery fee.
Larger valley breweries are also trying their hand at delivery. La Quinta Brewing Company is open for to-go orders from 3 to 6 p.m. at its Palm Desert brewery, and also delivers beer in growlers as well as bottles and cans. Orders must be placed by 5:30 p.m. to secure delivery between 6 and 8 p.m. There is a $20 minimum, plus a $5 delivery fee.
Coachella Valley Brewing Company is also delivering to select cities in the valley, seven days a week. Orders placed between noon and 5 p.m. will arrive by 7:30 p.m. The Thousand Palms taproom is also open from 2 to 6:30 p.m. during the week, and from noon to 5 p.m. on weekends for to-go order
While Las Palmas Brewing in Palm Springs is not offering delivery at this time, the brewery is open for curbside pick-up Monday, Thursday and Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
When asked if he would be continuing delivery even after the COVID-19 crisis subsides, Sanchez said he would consider it if it weren't for his truck.
"I really do depend on people coming through my front door as a small business,'' he said, "Me driving around in my chevy is not ideal.''