On Saturday, September 19th Button Brew House celebrated their third anniversary by hosting a semi-private event at the brewery. It wasn’t exactly a secret but it definitely wasn’t promoted either. Tickets were only offered and sold to their annual members, close friends of the brewery, and celebrities like me.
I’ve written before about how conflicted I am that things are starting to get back to “normal” during the current Rona pandemic while understanding that small businesses I love are struggling to survive. The bottom line is that I think being out and congregating is still a risk and that significant precautions should be taken. And if you want to argue with me about that then you can take that Facebook comment you’re working on and shove it right up your asshole because I couldn’t possibly care.
So local bars and restaurants are doing their best to continue operating through the new normal with reduced capacities, masks, social distancing, etc. But the Button anniversary celebration wasn’t just a typical day at the taproom. It was a special event with live music and a food truck onsite. And I’m here to tell you that not only was it a lot of fun, it was so meticulously organized that I and the people I spoke to all felt completely safe being there. Part of the reason I wanted to write about this is that it could serve as a blueprint for other breweries wanting to host something similar in the future.
Since public gatherings have been limited to under 50 people by Arizona’s Dept of Health Services, only 48 tickets were made available. A large section of the parking lot was closed off and tables were placed no less than 15 feet apart. No more than 8 people were allowed per table. Guests were asked not to mingle and the only reason they were allowed to go into the taproom was to use the bathroom. Four bartenders on staff became servers for the night and brought beers to the guests’ tables.
If all that sounds like a pain in the ass to put together, I can assure you that you’re correct. A lot of time went into the planning and even more hard work went into serving the guests and making sure they felt comfortable. So was all that effort worth it for a four hour-long event in which people couldn’t even mingle with one another?
It absolutely was. And I’m not the only one who thought this. The feedback from the attendees was universally positive. The event started at 5pm and every single ticket holder was checked in and seated in under hour. The patio was used as a stage for local singer Paul Opocensky who started out the night strong. Of all the white guys with guitars who play at breweries (which are fucking legion), he is definitely the best. Other local musicians Bryan & Koko followed him and Brooke Sample closed out the night.
A lot of the guests said similar things. They talked about how much they missed live music and being out around other people, even if they couldn’t hang out with them. As strict as the guidelines were, this event was still a small taste of normality in the middle of an ocean of shit and people really appreciated it. But the main reason it worked was that everyone followed the rules. That’s gotta be the key for anyone who holds an event like this going forward. And based on how things went on Saturday I would love for other breweries to try something like this.
A ticket to the event included four beers and a meal from The Blacktop Grill food truck. Plus we all got a BBH mask and a dope “Fuck Covid” shirt that you can buy at the taproom right now.
As the sun went down, the weather got cooler, and people got a couple of beers in it didn’t even feel much different from the old days. It was an intimate night out with good food, music and drinks…just with a little bit of extra distance between everyone.
I asked Gabe Ceniceros, owner of the Blacktop food truck and always a man with words of wisdom, what he thought of the event.
“It’s our first time out since March. We’re happy to be out to celebrate another small business that made it through and look back at the warrior status. It puts the badge of honor on people who make it past this.”
Happy 3rd birthday, Button Brew House. I hope to be celebrating many more of these with you in the future.