Finally, Slowly, Kinda-Sorta, we get to OPEN OUR DOORS AGAIN!
Recent trends and policy changes are building optimism that we will—eventually—emerge from this shadow existence imposed on us by COVID-19. All of us here at Silver Branch are full of anticipation for the time we can see all our old friends again—and hopefully lots of new friends as well! While this process of reopening feels glacial, the fact that there is progress at all makes us happy with anticipation at once again enjoying Gemütlichkeit inside Silver Branch.
Getting here wasn’t a given, and being here in one piece deserves a moment of reflection and thanks. What could have been a death blow for Silver Branch was ameliorated by our community of fans and friends—all of you whom we think of as our Silver Branch family. While the financial impact of shutting down our taproom will take time to recover from, we would be in much more dire circumstances without the support of our fans. Every time we asked for your support, you came through for us in spades.
It Feels Good to be Loved
Opening a business is a funny thing. More than I ever realized would be the case, it requires that you take a piece of yourself and put it out there for the world to enjoy or reject. It is always rewarding to see people enjoying a visit to Silver Branch or to hear that someone enjoyed one of our beers. It’s like an idea we have had and turned into reality has brought a bit of light and happiness into someone’s life, including our own. Those small votes of confidence for our vision and our work is a big part of what makes having opened Silver Branch so rewarding.
That feeling of love and support was amplified by a zillion as a result of how you have responded and made us feel during the COVID-19 crisis. Long-standing fans and brand-new acquaintances alike have rallied to help make sure Silver Branch would still be here when the dust settles. To know that we are consciously seen as a part of the community that people want to support and sustain is humbling and enormously gratifying. As the son of Midwestern German Catholics, expressing emotions hasn’t always been a strong suit of mine. The process of opening Silver Branch and meeting the folks that have been willing to support us has helped me bring my emotions to bear. More, now than ever, I feel touched having witnessed the outpouring of support and connection coming from my community and fans of Silver Branch.
Explorers Club, To-Go and Delivery
Soon after we had to close our taproom, we launched the Silver Branch Explorers Club. Our hope was to raise some capital to help us weather the storm. Over the past three months 154 people signed up, far exceeding our highest estimates. The initial response to the call for explorer members hit us like a tidal wave of relief. It is difficult to convey how much our anxiety went down as the e-mail registrations came in. Similarly, every move we made to keep revenue coming in while the taproom was closed was met with enthusiasm. Week after week we expanded the items for sale. Each time, whether it be beer, food, wine, flour and yeast, or cocktails, and whether it was pick-up or home delivery, all of you in our local community have come out to vote with your dollars. It wasn’t long before we learned that we would be able to count on a steady amount of income that, combined with government programs, would sustain us.
Your Tax Dollars at World
Speaking of government programs, thank you for your tax dollars, too! While this may sound flippant, it isn’t intended that way. Nobody likes paying taxes and giving public money to support private enterprise justifiably makes people uncomfortable. Without going into details, we do want to say that in our experience as a small business, the loans and grants we received allowed us to keep people employed who we otherwise would not have been able to, and has put us in a position to rehire additional people more rapidly than if we had not received the money.
Our Promise to You
Please know that we will try our very best to repay your support and love by always striving to bring joy and fun to Silver Spring and our broader community. We will seek to fulfill our vision of creating Gemütlichkeit for you to enjoy with friends and family and to brew a wide variety of delicious beers to help you Explore your World. Finally, we will seek—as we have thus far in our short life as a company—to continue to expand our employees’ benefits and compensation as our finances allow us to. We believe our employees deserve a living wage and access to health insurance and will continue to work hard to get to the point where we can make that possible.
One Final Plea
As I said at the beginning of this post, it feels wonderful to have a sense that we are finally on the journey back toward normalcy. That journey, however, is still going to take a while! If you are one of those people who ordered from Silver Branch—or another local brewery—to help us survive the impacts of COVID, don’t stop now! Every purchase, whether a Father’s Day BBQ package, a six-pack, cocktail or bottle of wine, or a t-shirt or hat, helps us until we finally get our taproom back to full capacity. We can’t wait to see you back in our taproom. Hopefully soon!