Brewery owners frustrated not to be included in Phase 2 of N.C. reopening

Can NC breweries open under Phase 2?

CORNELIUS, N.C. (WBTV) - It is one of the most popular types of business in North Carolina, but many of them have been confused about whether they can reopen tomorrow.

Breweries fall into a bit of a grey area when it comes to Phase 2 of North Carolina’s reopening. While it seems some are categorized “restaurants,” others are considered “bars.” That distinction can determine whether they can open their doors, Friday night.

Some brewery owners say they want there to be more direction for breweries specifically. Many do not consider themselves a restaurant or a bar, but they are having to figure out which they fall under, to then figure out how to move forward.

Right now, for Phase 2, restaurants can partially reopen Friday at 5 p.m. Bars cannot.

According to the governor’s order, to be considered a restaurant, a business would need to prepare the food it serves in-house. A business that focuses primarily on serving alcohol is considered a bar.

Regardless, many brewery owners thought they were all going to be able to open Friday. Some say that was the understanding across the industry, and why many had spent the last few weeks preparing.

“This place is as sterile as you can get," Terri Lippy says about her brewery, Eleven Lakes Brewing Company in Cornelius. "I mean, I’ve been in here every day this week, as you can see, I have Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer on every table, got the tape measure there, we were measuring tables, moving all the chairs out so that we only have six people at each table, we were operating as if we were going to open Friday at five.”

After serving to-go orders only, Lippy is eager to reopen, but she cannot, because she serves alcohol only - she does not have a kitchen.

As the order stands now, breweries like hers would not be able to open for more than a month, as they wait to see what phase 3 brings.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.