CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Social distancing restrictions continue to hurt local businesses such as restaurants and bars in the Coastal Bend.
While restaurants are adjusting to the new normal of offering food via curbside or delivery, bars and breweries are struggling to get by.
The Nueces Brewing Co. in downtown has closed its public tap room and is selling its beer in 32 oz. growlers, but that is not cutting it.
"We have enough to pay the electric bill," Co-Owner Brandon Harper said. "That's it."
In order to make as much money as they can during this uncertain time, they have turned their attention from the keg room to the smokers. Harper, the pit master, has started smoking up some classic BBQ meats and selling them to go.
"I'm the one who had the smoker," Harper said. "I have had an interest in BBQ for a long time."
While they are selling their growlers to customers, they never thought it would be BBQ that would help them survive.
"We never thought BBQ would be the thing that keeps us afloat," Harper said. "We always said we were a beer company."
The company had brought in food trucks to feed their customers in the past but did have their eye on providing their own food. The COVID-19 outbreak has sped up that process.
"When we started the tap room we always knew we wanted to have food available," Co-Owner Cale Moore said. "We just accelerated those plans."
The brewery is less than a year old. With limited capital to sit on, they felt offering food to make some money was a necessity.
"We're still holding on by our finger nails."
They are hoping the delicious food is another reason to attract customers while their tap room remains closed.
"They've got more to leave with and it gives them another reason to stop here," Moore said.
The takeout service is open from noon to 6 p.m.