BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Great Change Brewing’s two-year anniversary is coming up, but they aren’t celebrating the way they had planned. The owner says the COVID-19 shutdowns have rocked their business, but they’re doing their best to stay open.
"You’re talking about a fully bootstrapped business. My brother and I have put all our, pretty much, all our life savings into this thing," said co-owner Tim Belmont.
Belmont created Great Change Brewing alongside his brother only two years ago.
“We only thought, 'Hey, we’re only going to be shut down for a few months,' and here we are ten months later," said Belmont.
Belmont said his brewery survived the first COVID-19 shutdown thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, but this second shutdown is hitting harder.
“It really put a thorn in businesses’ sides. It’s just been really tough trying to keep this thing going," he said.
Belmont said the shutdowns have had a major impact on Great Change Brewing’s finances, especially as a relatively new business.
He said during the first year of opening, a business rarely makes money even without an ongoing pandemic.
“Our business is down 50% just from last year, and for a new business, it takes 3 years to get this thing going," he said.
But they haven’t lost hope. Great Change Brewing is selling merchandise, gift cards, crowlers and beer cans to-go, all of which you can order online here.
Belmont said he sympathizes with all the other small businesses here in Kern County.
“Everybody is in the same boat. Nobody can operate their business and pay their bills," he said.
Belmont said they’re remaining hopeful and they appreciate the support the community has been showing all of them during the pandemic.