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Weekend Beer Company Flows Again in Grants Pass

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Our continuing series profiling local breweries, and how they are managing COVID-19 shutdowns. In this year’s Besties, the Messenger’s readers’ choices for their favorites, Weekend Beer Company in Grants Pass traded wins with Medford-based Walkabout Brewing Company. Less than two years old, but already an institution in Grants Pass, they returned to business in mid-May. Ashley Crews, half of one of the couples that owns, runs and manages the popular brewery answered some of our questions.

RVM: You reopened a week or so ago. Can you talk about the discussions you had to reopen?

Ashley Crews: Discussions happened on many levels—our community, the Brewer’s Guild, as well as our internal discussions. We also sent out a survey on social media to gauge how our customers were feeling about the reopening and steps we could take to ease their concerns. We drafted a few different table layouts, and were very cautious on the flow of ordering, to go sales, sanitization process etc.

RVM:Having some of the big events like Boatnik cancelled must be a blow. What’s the read for the rest of the summer as far as business? Concentrate on serving locals? Expect any tourists? 

AC: Boatnik cancelation was a huge blow to the greater Grants Pass area; however, the community response was incredible. This community thrives on supporting their local businesses! Even without a big release party like last year, we still had a great weekend with tapping our Topless Rafter Blonde Ale. The Boatnik events are a big draw for many in our community, but at least we got to enjoy a little part of it with the fly over and reflecting on our fallen comrades and loved ones over a well-crafted beer.

Serving locals is always our focus, they’re what we thrive on! We’ve had tourists from CA and WA stop by the brewery already; more than we expected! If that is any indication, we are hopeful for the support they bring for all our local businesses this summer.

RVM: I love the Topless Rafter image. Who came up with that?

AC: Topless Rafter has been a long-time joke in Kelsey’s family after a family friend had a hysterical overreaction to a rafter on the Rogue years ago. The four of us loved the idea of using it for our Blonde Ale but wanted something light-hearted. We reached out to Justin from No Envy Design, gave him an idea of how we envisioned the rafter, and he nailed it! He created the perfect image celebrating this middle-aged male rafter on an inflatable kayak—needless to say, there were no edits!

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