East Bay brewery pivots in face of COVID-19, now selling groceries

Businesses still operating during the COVID-19 pandemic are having to adjust in order to survive. 

It's a good example of, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." 

The Canyon Club Brewery in Moraga, which opened last August, makes and sells beer for a living in addition to a few other things on the side. When the shutdown took effect, breweries that offer take-out service were allowed to stay open. And that gave owner Kevin Hamilton an idea—a pop-up bodega. 

"I started just hearing community members say they didn't want to go to the grocery store or they were having trouble finding things," said Hamilton.

With so many people sheltering at home, some have turned to baking. But finding the right supplies and ingredients are hard to come by. 

"Flour, yeast, eggs, brown sugar, chocolate chips; things we can easily get generally as a restaurant from our suppliers," said Hamilton.

Another hot item, that's been flying off the shelves of major retailers is toilet paper, But with the relaxation of federal laws, Hamilton can buy in bulk and repackage the items into smaller containers for individual use. 

"We do curbside delivery. It's easy to get it. They don't have to go to a grocery store," he said. 

Boxes of sanitary gloves are in stock and, as soon as the supplies come in, Canyon Brewery will starting making its own brand of hand sanitizer. 

"When this all comes back, they'll remember that we really are part of this community and we are here to help," Hamilton said. 

Nearby Moraga Hardware and Lumber has also done a partial pivot, looking for and successfully finding hard to get essential products. The owners said it's not so much for profit, but for customer satisfaction.