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You better beer-lieve it: Innovation Brew Works reopens outdoor patio

By Lesly Velasco Guerra, Mar. 2, 2021

Following CDC and state health guidelines, Innovation Brew Works has reopened its outside patio again for guests to enjoy the Cal Poly Pomona’s staples famous food and beverages.

After California officials announced another stay at home order on Dec. 3, 2020, Innovation Brew Works was forced to shut its doors to diners. Although business was open for takeout, outside dining was unavailable until late January.

“Eventually we want to go back to how we were doing before,” explained Innovation Brew Works Manger Melody Young. “But it’s all just waiting on the guidelines now, making sure that we are operating in a safe manner and within the confines of what we’re allowed to do.”

Manger, Melody Young, explains state mandates require for signs regarding use of mask and maintaining social distance to be put up. Lesly Velasco Guerra | The Poly Post

According to Young, as soon as Los Angeles County gave the green light, the restaurant was ready to return while operating with COVID-friendly guidelines. Employees are screened daily with a temperature check when entering and use face shields when interacting with customers. Masks are required to be worn by guests and frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and sanitized every hour.

However, with students, staff and faculty off campus and the takeout-only restrictions lasting about two months, Young explained that both sales and the brewery’s usual atmosphere had fallen.

“Breweries are a sense of community. People would come in and meet with each other and they would come for that. Right now, everybody has to stay separate. You can’t really talk to the person next to you, so that’s kind of missing,” Young said.

In order to maintain tables cleaned and sanitized, a system has been implemented where a gold ball lets the customers and employees know the tables are cleaned and ready to use. Lesly Velasco Guerra | The Poly Post

While the brewery was takeout-only, growlers were difficult to acquire and yeast and bottles were backed up for a few weeks due to high demand. However, at the beginning of the pandemic, when there was a shortage of items, Young said that there were no problems obtaining products as Innovation Brew Works is using a different supply chain specific to restaurants.

Takeout also meant a reduced menu, including only beer, pizzas and limited appetizers. However now that outdoor dining has resumed, the full menu is available with the exception of beer cheese and apple cobbler.

CPP alumnus Andrew Rodriguez (business, ’17) said that although he wishes the atmosphere was reflective of the lively community pre-COVID, he appreciates the availability of outdoor dining.

“It’s nice to be outdoors, get some fresh air and get a beer here and there,” said Rodriguez.

However, it’s not only costumers that have had to adapt to changes at Innovation Brew Works.

Katie Evans, employee and fourth year chemical engineer student, explained that working with a reduced staff during COVID has changed the working environment.

“It has definitely been a lot slower, we still get a lot of people here and there,” Evans said. “But overall, you do work with less people and when you’re working alone, it feels busy.”

Despite the reduction of staff, Evans explained that not being on campus has also been difficult because she now commutes from her home in Rancho Cucamonga. Evans hopes that it will soon be safe enough to bring everyone back on campus and increase traffic to the brewery once again.

Young also looks forward to bringing back the close community atmosphere to the brewery.

“We would love to have bingo nights and trivia nights and all of that back, but right now we can’t. Once we can and when it is safe to do so, we will,” said Young.

Innovation Brew Works is open for business Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is currently serving a full menu for either takeout or outdoor patio dining. For more information visit its website.

All photos Lesly Velasco Guerra | The Poly Post. 

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