Can Craft Breweries Open In Phase 2? Brewers Aren’t Sure

May 21, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper announced that restaurants, salons and pools can reopen on Friday with limited capacity as part of Phase 2 for lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, bars, gyms and other businesses will remain closed. The order however, was unclear if craft breweries are able to open. The operations straddle the line between bar and restaurant. 

“We do not believe our breweries, taprooms or brewpubs meet Executive Order 141’s definition of 'bars', and we are continuing to work with the Governor’s office to clarify this matter,” explains the North Carolina Brewers Craft Guild in a press release.

Phase Two starts on Friday, May 22.
Credit North Carolina Governor's Office

Nicole Owen, co-owner of Innovation Brewing, says that they are waiting on clarification from the Guild to make the call to open their outdoor spaces in Sylva and Dillsboro. 

“It’s a scary place to be. I mean 5 more weeks of closure is kind of a death sentence for a lot of people I think. It’s hard to process everything because the information changes so quickly,” says Owen.  


During the COVID-19 closure she says the brewery’s revenue has dropped about 90 percent - despite the fact that the brewery began selling canned beer in mid-March and offers to-go services. 


Owen says that parts of the brewery will remain closed even if they are able to reopen.


“Even when we get the full ‘go’ to operate business as usual, we will still do what we feel is safest while continuing to conduct business - because obviously staying closed for much longer isn’t really an option,” says Owen.  


Innovation Brewing opened in Sylva in 2013 and expanded to Dillsboro in 2018.


The North Carolina Craft Breweries Guild hopes to have clarification of the order by Friday.