PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The House of Beer in Dunedin is one of several small brewpubs in the area. Before the pandemic hit, The House of Beer was preparing for a big spring season.
“This pandemic happened right as we were ramping up for beer season. February, March, April is our big time of year for beer, so we’ve been brewing like mad getting ready to go and then March 16, we shut down before we were even mandated to and now there is a shelf life on beer, it only lasts so long,” said House of Beer Manager Rick Clemo, who says if they can’t reopen soon, they will have to pour out keg after keg of beer.
“If we don’t get open pretty soon we’re going to have to start dumping beer and so that’s another impact, another financial impact that’s very negative,” said Clemo.
While other brewpubs in the area have been allowed to re-open, the House of Beer can not.
As part of their normal business model before the pandemic hit, they partnered with local food trucks to sell food. However, since the food trucks have a separate business license their profits can not be included in the formula the state of Florida uses to determine if a business is a bar or a restaurant.
“I could show you a dozen places you can go around here where you can go inside and have a beer or on a tight, small patio and have a beer, but yet you can’t sit out here and have a beer. It just makes no sense,” said Andy Polce with the House of Beer.
Polce believe his operation is no different in reality from businesses that are open right now and he thinks the large patio with distant tables they set up will be safe for customers and staff.
“Don’t tell me it’s a safety issue. Our standard operating procedure with masks and gloves and social distancing and six feet. I’ll put it up against anyone,” said Polce.
He would like clarification from the governor’s office about why other similar businesses have been allowed to re-open and his can’t.
Dunedin’s Mayor, Julie Bujalski has contacted the Governor’s office for the House of Beer but has not received a reply.
“I think what frustrates us all is the department of business and professional regulation is putting out information that is different from the Government’s order. So we are waiting for that clarification sometime tomorrow. We have not heard back from the Governor’s office as of today,” said Bujalski.
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