BRANFORD, Conn. — Memorial Day Weekend has brought sunny skies and positive vibes. The unofficial start of summer has come not exactly the way people expected it to be. At Stony Creek Brewery in Branford the experience has changed a little but the atmosphere remains the same.
"It’s the same but it’s not," said Stony Creek General Manager and Chief Financial Officer Dave Herrington. You know you’re gonna have a fun time outside, there’s just a few new rules."
Those new rules can be seen the moment you begin walking down the boardwalk into the brewery. Traffic arrows take you through their taproom and into their spacious waterfront property. There is new signage, safe zones and masks are required whenever you are not sitting at one of their first-come, first-serve seating locations. From the sky, you can see their tables are perfectly spaced out six-feet apart.
"We are now requiring by state law that this is a dining experience," said Herrington.
With help from Guilford's Naples Pizza truck serving rain or shine seven days a week, the brewery is now a restaurant. They have color-coded waiters, bartenders, and support staff to prevent any cross-contamination. Food and beer go directly from the safe zones to the tray, to you.
"We have converted completely over to a restaurant but in the safest possible way," said Floor Manager Maggie Kelly.
Making not only a safe experience but a beneficial one for everyone involved.
"We normally do our trucks with private parties and corporate functions which we are not able to do right now," said Naples Pizza Co-Owner Carol Mazzarella. "This has been a good partnership for both of us."
Both Naples and Stony Creek are hoping Memorial Day weekend draws good crowds to help make up for lost revenue. Stony Creek lost 95% of their taproom sales and all of their summer weddings and events due to COVID-19. They had to adapt on the fly with the new set up and a new beer, appropriately named “Wash Your Hands”.
"It’s actually way better than I thought it would be. They really did a great job spacing people out," said AJ Cooney. "It’s great to get out of the house, have some beers with a friend, and live life like normal again."