Cheers to Our Favorite Local Breweries and Restaurants
After an unprecedented year for the entire country, things are opening up again and a sense of normalcy is returning. One of the hardest-hit industries this past year was the restaurant industry. These establishments were put through the ringer thanks to constant changes in policy and regulations, and it forced them to really think on their feet and fight to survive. We are proud to know and collaborate with some local Eugene/Springfield-area establishments, and it has been wonderful watching them adapt, survive, and even grow this past year.
All of these businesses followed state and federal public health guidelines, requiring masks unless seated, limiting group sizes and capacity, social distancing, increased cleaning and sanitizing, and offering open-air dining and to-go options. But we were impressed as we watched these businesses get creative and go above and beyond the norm to not just survive, but really thrive.
Beergarden was one of our first local restaurant partnerships. Their indoor-outdoor beer garden bordered by food carts has been a hit in town for years. With a huge list of taps, plenty of food options, and live music, it was a common gathering place for Eugene/Springfield residents… before Oregon’s Stay Home order. What did they have to change in order to keep up with the times?
With the help of Porter, Beergarden was able to offer curbside pickup via mobile ordering almost immediately. The staff painted numbers on parking spots for pickup and Beergarden was fully online even before on-site dining was restricted. Beergarden also bought a really fun “snail” delivery vehicle that allowed them to control their own delivery and keep more staff employed.
ColdFire Brewing has been around since 2016. The brewery space and tasting room are conveniently located in downtown Eugene, with easy access to Autzen Stadium (Go Ducks!). ColdFire had a steady stream of regulars — plus visitors to town — moving in and out of the taproom every day of the week. But this past year has brought some unique challenges that forced the ColdFire team to adapt.
ColdFire is another location that utilized Porter to establish contact-free ordering and curbside pickup right away. As time went on, the team at ColdFire realized that keg sales to restaurants were essentially eliminated, so they had to pivot and switch to producing more canned beer options. At Drawn, we design their beer cans and our finely tuned system allows for quick label production and one-off “Indie Batches.” ColdFire was able to sell more cans than ever before (about eight times the number of cans previously sold) through grocery stores and their new beer delivery program, as well as on-site, thanks to Porter and the state of Oregon's revised laws. All of this kept ColdFire’s business steady and allowed them to make investments in the company, such as buying new brewing equipment to enhance a lager project that they had always dreamed of doing.
ColdFire was able to shift their serving staff to delivery drivers, keeping their people employed and also keeping their beer moving. They even reached a point where they converted their commercial delivery fleet into a home delivery fleet just to reach a wider range of customers. During this time, ColdFire also expanded their outdoor seating and established their own food truck.
One of the most inspiring things that ColdFire did was to keep looking toward the future. They entered their beers in competitions and ended up winning three very prestigious awards — Oregon Beer Awards Best Of The Valley 2020 and two Great American Beer Festival medals — even if they couldn’t be there to accept them in person. They also continued to plan their upcoming restaurant, always keeping the faith that after the pandemic, people would want to return to sharing good food and brews.
PublicHouse, which is owned by the guys behind Beergarden, is the most recent Drawn restaurant partnership. Opened in 2018, this family-friendly space was designed to invite meaningful gatherings and won Travel Lane County’s 2019 Destination Award. The food hall includes several restaurants, a beer hall, a whiskey bar, an outdoor bar, and plenty of outdoor seating.
Like Beergarden, PublicHouse used Porter to allow online ordering and to-go options, and bought a “snail” delivery truck. When seven nearby hotels were forced to shut down their kitchens, PublicHouse and Porter stepped in to offer room service to hotel guests. This allowed guests at these hotels to access a wide variety of food options without the hassle of leaving their rooms or ordering from separate restaurants, which meant a safer, smoother experience and financial benefits for everyone involved.
Another thing that set PublicHouse apart was their new to-go cocktails. As a response to COVID, a new law made it legal to serve to-go cocktails (in closed containers). PublicHouse jumped on this and started offering a fun, new product that got customers excited. As a result of all of this, they were able to keep all of their staff who wanted to remain employed.
We are proud to stand by and support these local, Eugene-area businesses. They have worked hard to make it through this past year, and it is wonderful to see how loyal their customers are. All of these locations have built strong brands that demonstrate their values, and people want to support businesses like that. We sure do, and we can’t wait to get the team together to do that very soon.