Instead of the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” one Salina business focused on making ale when faced with challenges. When the coronavirus pandemic impacted Blue Skye Brewery and Eats, LLC with temporary business closure and revenue decline, co-owner Monte Shadwick got creative.
“We were very fortunate to have been in business for 7 years when the pandemic hit and were in a good financial position to weather the storm. However, to keep our team employed and working, we needed to create an income stream from other sales,” Shadwick said.
In Fall 2020, the business expanded its wholesale line by the keg and began offering it to other local restaurant/bars to meet the trend of having a local craft beer on tap. They also created a new revenue source by adding a small canning machine. The new machine makes it possible for Blue Skye Brewery to sell beer in recyclable 32-ounce cans, which allows customers to mix and match a variety pack and take it to go. The business has a large list of customer favorites that it brews in house including Jalapeno Ale and seasonal varieties such as Watermelon Crawl.
The project to pivot operations and purchase brewery equipment to meet the changing demands was made possible through assistance from the NCK Business Relief Loan Program that was funded by the EDA CARES Act RLF 2020. Other sources of funds for this project include investment by the owner and First Bank Kansas. As a result of the project, another brewer was hired, allowing the business to retain 14 and create 1 full-time equivalent positions, including the owner.
For more information about the NCRPC Business Finance program, contact Debra Peters at 785-738-2218 or visit the NCRPC Business Finance services page. To learn more about Blue Skye Brewery and Eats, LLC, find them on Facebook.
This article appeared in the Quarter 4 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.