How to Meet Brewery Reopening Requirements by Serving Food

How to Meet Brewery Reopening Requirements by Serving Food
May 27, 2020 Levi Olmstead

COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the craft-brewing industry. 80% of breweries had to slow or completely stop production and the average brewery saw a 65% dip in overall sales. At the beginning of wide-spread quarantines, 60% of brewery owners said they would be forced to shut down their taproom permanently if stay-at-home orders lasted 1-3 months.

Now 11 weeks since this nightmare started, breweries are finally getting some good news. All 50 states are now turning their focus to reopening plans – with different regions moving at different paces. So what does reopening look like for taproom owners? In many states, governors are specifically citing a plan for breweries – but it involves a catch.

Key Takeaways on Requirements for Reopening Craft Breweries:

  • In most areas, restaurants have been allowed to reopen at 25% – 50% capacity.
  • Breweries that have an on-site kitchen and serve food (BrewPubs) fall under the category of restaurants.
  • California, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina are allowing breweries who partner with local restaurants and/or food trucks in order to serve food can also reopen – with other states considering similar measures.
  • Starting a new commercial kitchen costs on average $500,000 – but 2ndKitchen manages partnerships between breweries and local restaurants, allowing taprooms to serve food without a kitchen – at no cost to the brewery.

Breweries in Many States Can Reopen – But Only If They Serve Food

In most states, restaurants have been able to to reopen at 25% – 50% capacity. This means brewpubs that have a commercial kitchen on-site and offer customers a food menu are eligible to reopen. 

And many states have gone further, laying out specific workarounds to helps breweries without a kitchen reopen, with creative loop-holes to meet reopening requirements – including partnering with local restaurants to serve food in their taproom and having food trucks on-site.

For example, here are a few states that have explicitly highlighted this in official statements:

  • California – The Department will allow, on a temporary basis, licensees that do not operate kitchen facilities and do not prepare bona fide meals on the licensed premises to partner with businesses that do offer meals (“meal provider”) to sell bona fide meals in conjunction with to-go containers of alcoholic beverages. (Source)
  • Colorado – Breweries would be able to open with restaurants, as long as they serve food prepared on-site through a food truck or through a neighboring restaurant. (Source)
  • Florida – Breweries can reopen at 25% capacity if they serve food on-site or partner with a licensed food partner such as a restaurant or food truck (Source)
  • North Carolina – Businesses that are involved in the production of beer and not only the sale of alcohol (ie. breweries), are permitted to open if they serve food. (Source)

Meet COVID-19 reopening requirements by serving food in your taproom with 2ndKitchen 

How Can Your Brewery Serve Food On-Site Without a Kitchen?

The cost of a commercial kitchen can reach $500,000+ for construction and operational costs. For many, a commercial kitchen is just not profitable – and the majority of taprooms don’t have one.

The two main ways of working around this are scheduling food trucks and partnering with local restaurants.

Food Trucks

One option that allows taprooms to serve food without a kitchen is to schedule food trucks. Many breweries have working relationships with local food truck owners and have had food truck events at their brewery before.


  • Serve food without a kitchen
  • Can social distance with food trucks sitting up outside
  • Can have rotating types of food trucks


  • Need to schedule specific times for food trucks to be at your brewery
  • Need to find parking-lot space to park food trucks
  • Sometimes minimums and contracts

Local Restaurant Partnerships with 2ndKitchen

An easier, more hands-off option is to partner with a local restaurant to serve their food in your taproom. 2ndKitchen for Breweries is a 100% free service helps facilitate those partnerships with popular restaurants in your community – at no cost to your brewery.

With 2ndKitchen, breweries are able to:

  • Meet the on-site food requirement for COVID-19 reopening
  • Serve food without a kitchen from highly-rated, local restaurants.
  • Completely free for breweries.
  • Hands-off service, allowing your to focus on beer production while 2ndKitchen manages the partnership, delivery, customer service, and tech issues.
  • Ability to create a custom menu with branded food items exclusive to your taproom
  • Customers can order via their smartphones, meaning you don’t need to clean menus

Meet COVID-19 reopening requirements by serving food in your taproom with 2ndKitchen 

How Chula Vista Brewery Uses 2ndKitchen to Meet Reopening Requirements in California

Chula Vista Brewery is a craft brewery located just south of San Diego. When California announced breweries that serve food, Chula Vista realized they could leverage its existing partnership with 2ndKitchen to meet those requirements.

Now Chula Vista is back open and serving its line of craft beers to its customers – along with delicious food from nearby restaurants. The best part? Chula Vista is able to take advantage of 2ndKitchen’s service at no cost to them.

Contact 2ndKitchen

See 2ndKitchen in action and chat with a team member about choosing the right food service solution for your brewery’s needs.