JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Coast businesses are giving it their all during the coronavirus pandemic to stay safe and stay open. For bars or taprooms, or shops that serve alcohol, the changes in state rules have led to some creative ways to keep customers coming in.
For Alewife Bottleshop and Tasting Room owner Kelly Pickard, the new strategy involves adding artisan bread and meats from The Bread & Board to the menu.
Pickard's passion and business aligned when Alewife opened in 5 Points a few years ago at 1035 Park St. When the coronavirus shut things down, it meant changing to stay viable. That meant adding a menu to the beer business.
Alewife already had an informal partnership with The Bread & Board, but that became more formal during the pandemic. Pickard explained when the state issued new rules following a second virus wave, a new strategy came to mind.
“We made the investment to create a space that operates as a food prep area to get the license and work with The Bread & Board to actually create a menu that was more specific to our bar,” Pickard said.
Alewife is also the venue for beer school, which the On Your Side team showed you back in 2018. That has since gone virtual, but Pickard said it’s about trying new ideas and staying positive.
“Having a food license opens up some opportunity for us to get a little bit more creative and have a little bit more onsite say,” Pickard said.
Adding customers have started to slowly return — and grab a bite. Giving a bit of hope, which Pickard said may not have been felt years ago when Alewife first opened.
“We had established ourselves as a retail location, so had this happened year one might have been more difficult,” Pickard said.