Meditations in an Emergency

Weathering the COVID-19 storm

Some thoughts on what our food and beverage friends (bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, dispensaries, coffee shops) can do to weather the COVID-19 storm.

The last few days have been filled with conversations with clients and friends on how to manage the next several weeks / months. 

There are a few tactical solutions being suggested around the industry (adding gift cards, merch stores and carryout—if available—to your website). These are good, and certainly better than nothing, but I don’t want to speak to the day-to-day because, one: these articles are a dime a dozen. And two: everyone’s situation is different. Local laws, forthcoming policy response, your cash reserve and personal situations will all dictate how you should run and gun for the next few months.

We don’t want this to come across as tone deaf. Assuming you are in a position to weather several months with low to no revenue, the following advice stands.

We’d like to explore how we can do some housekeeping while we’re all on lock down. What can we do, or think about, to turn this negative into a positive? How can we not only survive, but emerge stronger than before? 




A quick preface, in case it needs to be repeated: your health and that of your family and your employees and/or coworkers are your most important priority right now. Make sure you’re limiting their exposure, especially if you’re in a leadership position.  





Starting out, we need to acknowledge that this situation is bad. And it will get worse before getting better. BUT, the world isn’t ending. Some businesses will close, the economy will be tanked for a while and we’ll all be dealing with the fallout long after this is contained—but we WILL emerge from this. 

So how can you work on your business when you can’t “do” your business (bartend, brew and serve beer, create amazing food and experiences)? How can we move forward if we can’t practice our craft like usual? 

Our opinion: take this downtime to reflect on your business and brand. 

Reflect on your business, your goals, your operations, your key relationships, your positioning and your branding as these are often neglected during the day-to-day grind of running and building a business. 

Read a few books to rekindle that fire or to put your house in order. Some quick recommendations:


Branding / Design / Marketing Books

Building a StoryBrand

The Hero and the Outlaw 

The Creative Curve


Blue Ocean Strategy

Why Johnny Can’t Brand 

Made to Stick

4-D Branding 

Business Books

Setting the Table

The Goal

Extreme Ownership

Brutally Honest (for our designer friends)

Writing without Bullshit 


Brewing up a Business

E-Myth Revisited 

The Obstacle is the Way

The Art of War

Boss Life

Shoe Dog 


And finally, check out Craft Beer, Rebranded (CBR) if you haven’t already. This isn’t a commercial—you can read it for free. If you’re able to read CBR, or a few of the books mentioned above, you should use this downtime to print off a CBR Workbook and apply all the lessons and theory you’ve picked up. 




Is this a panacea? Will reading a bunch of books solve all your problems. Of course not. But it will get you thinking about the future.

Make a plan. Rejigger and rework some programs. Refocus, rebuild or reframe. And if you have to, burn some systems to the ground and don’t look back. 

The next year is going to present challenges—and opportunities—that we’ve never dreamed of. You need to make a plan to adapt to the new market and hit the ground running once we’re all cleared to get back out there.

Take this time to work on your business.




This will pass. 

In the meantime, it’s a chance to find out how resilient you are and write one hell of a story for your business. 

Stay safe. And steel yourself.

Good luck, friends. 




Reach out to me personally if you have any questions or would like to bounce ideas off of our team: