Thoughts, Responses + More Re: COVID – 19 from the Team at Cellador
We are all being impacted by COVID-19 in some way or another. Here’s our responses written during week 2 of the “stay at home” measures put in place statewide. Enjoy…
Sara Osborne – Co-Founder
I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy for me to separate the emotional response from challenging situations. But in most cases I’m able to. Before Cellador, I worked for Corporate America, and I was trained to not allow emotions to be a part of my decision making. But let me tell you, last week was anything but an emotionless week. COVID-19 came with an unexpected force that we certainly were not prepared for. On many levels. Kevin, Alex and I made many decisions in 2019 to invest back into the company the capital that we had. Because with each year, comes new goals. And we were determined to reach them. One of those decisions was hiring. Still a tiny team. But a team nonetheless. We signed a second lease as a distribution hub. We increased production. Had we known what was coming, key decisions would have been made to prepare, and they would have looked different than what was actually being executed.
Kevin and I started this brewery in 2015. We poured, and have continued to pour endless personal funds, our life savings, and endless hours of sweat and energy to make Cellador what it is today. More months than not, we have not paid ourselves. Every ounce in us cared about what we established on day 1, and has continued to care. And when you put 110% into something, there are no words to use when you are told to close your doors due to something outside of your control. Something we understand, but something that largely impacts the state of our business, and the state of our industry. It is not just us being effected, and it is not just us who has this story of investing our life into a dream. It is not just our industry, its an endless amount of people, and an endless amount of industries, and small business owners fighting to make it through this.
We are fighting for this company like we have all along. Not because Kevin and I need to pay our bills. But because of this community, and because of our team (who seriously kicks ass btw!). You, our members, the other breweries that we consider family, will get us through this. We won’t stop fighting, unless we are forced to. And we hope you know the role you play in us continuing the fight. Your words, support, and care for our brewery is invaluable to us. We owe it to you. And until our doors open again with full operations, take care of yourselves, and support small and local as much as you are able and comfortable. Let’s get through this. 👊
Kevin Osborne – Blender/Co-Founder
There are all sorts of scenarios that I’ve imagined could potentially lead to us shutting our doors for good as a business, but I could have never foreseen this current crisis and it’s specific impact on breweries, bars, and restaurants. Even a couple weeks ago as this situation was ramping up, we were going about business as normal, really never thinking that it could lead to us being forced to close our tasting room. But the affects are much deeper than that. With every other bar and brewery and restaurant closed our distribution is completely dried up. And with severely limited revenue streams we’ve also had to make the tough decision to shut down all production and packaging operations for the foreseeable future. It’s truly only with the support of our local community stepping up and purchasing more bottles, and growlers and even individuals buying full kegs that we have any possibility of coming out the other end of this intact.
We are not independently wealthy. We didn’t get into this business because we had money and were looking for something new to invest in. This is our entire life. I live and breathe this brewery and put my full heart and soul into it every single day. Our employees and we make a living and pay our rent and buy our food from the monthly wages we earn by working at the brewery. I’ve personally been distraught and severely underwhelmed by the words from politicians on both sides regarding how they plan to help small businesses. I don’t feel confident at all that the state or federal government will help us get through this. We obviously have to come together as a country to first and foremost safeguard the lives and health of the people in every community made vulnerable by this virus. We are doing everything possible to put in place overly safe practices to ensure that nobody is put at risk as we try to continue to operate a limited public facing business. And we will forever be grateful to every person that is able to support us and every other small local business during these crucial next few months. Stay safe out there everybody! And take this time to start sipping those beers you’ve been hoarding for years.
Alex Ourieff – Sales Manager
I joined the team at Cellador about a year ago. I had known Kevin & Sara professionally first, and then quickly became friends. When the opportunity arose, I was excited to join them; more than anything because I believe so much in the product and because I believe that Kevin & Sara are smart, dedicated and hardworking people who stand out in an industry of smart, dedicated and hardworking people. I also believe that when you find yourself a home among great people, everything else follows. It’s for that reason that I feel hopeful in what would otherwise be one of the most dire situations I could have imagined.
This pandemic has the potential (without serious intervention) to decimate every corner of the hospitality industry and many other industries and businesses. This immense threat to an entire sector, worldwide, is so far beyond anything that a small business like Cellador Ales could begin to plan for. Our time horizon is now weeks in the future, not years, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from this so far, it’s that it’s probably naive of me to even feel so confident about the next 48 hours.
As I reflect on the past year and on the past ten-or-so days, and also on the next couple of weeks and years beyond that, I feel tremendously grateful. I feel grateful for the outpouring of support from our customers/fans/evangelists which is helping us to even begin to think about weathering this storm, and without which I don’t know where we’d be. I feel grateful to continue to work in hospitality, an industry that at it’s core is just about making people feel good (something we could all use more of right now). I feel grateful for the tight-knit community in the LA Brewers’ Guild which is filling my inbox with advice and resources and positivity. Most of all, though, I feel deeply grateful to be staring at the weeks-distant horizon shoulder to shoulder with Sara, Kevin and now Julio.
As all of us navigate the stormy present together, know that we’ll come out the other side stronger for it.
Stay healthy. Stay safe. Wash your hands. You really don’t need any more toilet paper.