Northwest Indiana’s legendary Three Floyds Brewing Co. has closed the doors to its brewpub indefinitely due to safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic, brewery founder Nick Floyd said late Tuesday.
Even as Indiana allows businesses to reopen, Floyd said he chose to furlough staff at his Munster pub, which has become one of the nation’s quintessential brewpubs.
“I can’t put people in danger; no one should die over a beer,” Floyd said. “I would die for beer and probably will, but I’m not going to make people endanger themselves.”
The pub, which can accommodate 70 people in about 2,000 square feet, will not reopen “until it’s safe to operate again,” Floyd said. He expressed concern for both customers and employees.
“It’s too many people jammed in,” he said.
Chicago-based Guys Drinking Beer website reported Tuesday that the Three Floyds brewpub wouldn’t reopen — possibly ever — even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The website reported that brewpub employees were notified Monday that they were losing their jobs.
Floyd said he plans to eventually reopen the brewpub or a new taproom, but that he doesn’t trust the state’s reopening timeline. Indiana allowed restaurants to open at half capacity May 11th and will allow bars to do the same June 14th.
“I don’t trust anyone’s word until there’s a vaccine,” he said.
He said it may take a year or even two to reopen. In the meantime, Three Floyds’ brewery and distillery continue to operate, Floyd said. He refuted speculation that Three Floyds is being sold.
Floyd said brewpub staff was being paid until this week’s furloughs. About 50 to 60 people have lost their jobs, which Floyd called “the most painful thing I have had to do.” He described affected employees as ”cohorts of years and years.”
Like many breweries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Three Floyds has adopted online sales and contact-free curbside pickup for its beer, spirits and other items.
Its annual Dark Lord Day festival, one of the nation’s legendary beer releases and festivals, scheduled for last weekend, was canceled.
Three Floyds, the nation’s 31st-largest craft brewery according to the Brewers Association, is also pausing plans for an expanded brewpub, Floyd said.
In early 2018, plans were revealed to triple the brewery’s size into an elaborate campus. Though Three Floyds launched both a second Munster brewery to can its beer and a distillery and cocktail bar last year, brewpub expansion won’t happen anytime soon, Floyd said.
“That was a pie-in-the-sky uber-brewpub that I was wanting to do, but the cost was too high and there’s not enough infrastructure to support it,” he said. “If we would have done that, we would be done right now for sure. It was a grandiose plan.”
Floyd didn’t rule out an ambitious brewpub eventually, “but it’s not in the cards yet,” he said.