By now, you probably know how much many local businesses are suffering. We've seen so many already having to close up shop for good in response to COVID-19. It's truly heartbreaking.
The ones that are still standing (some barely at that) are spinning to come up with creative ways to save money and still serve the community. For John Marti, head brewer and part owner of Award Winning Lowercase Brewing in Seattle, that meant moving out of his apartment in South Park and into a small storage room at the brewery.
"The space is 11 feet by 9 feet, so a total of 99 square feet," said Marti. "So basically my roommates are the fermentation tanks."
Full disclosure. I know Marti well, he's been best friends with my older brother for 27 years. When I heard about his decision to move out of his home, and into his brewery to save money - it didn't surprise me at all. Everything he does, he does with passion, loyalty and conviction. This is no different.
By moving in, Marti is saving Lowercase more than $1,000 a month - that, and the generosity of the brewery's landlord allowing him to live at the brewery rent-free. Every cent he's has made since all this started has gone right back into the business.
"When COVID-19 became a threat to eliminating Lowercase, the decision was easy," he said. " If I could make a move to support the business and prolong our efforts, I was going to do it. Owning a small business in Seattle was already hard pre-coronavirus , so when this pandemic hit, it was an all hands on deck situation."
I got to check out his new digs through a virtual FaceTime tour, where he proudly showed off his new home.
"I built a bunk bed, I have a little couch, a rug, some art and books, a place for my clothes," said Marti. "I have more than enough." If you've seen the movie "Step Brothers", you'll truly appreciate his subtle decor.
Lowercase Brewing is down to two staff members, from their original 12. Marti and Chris Smith are both partial owners, and the last men standing. And like most small business owners right now, they are giving it their all.
"We were late to the canning game so that set us back," said Marti. "We are used to serving our beers on tap, but now we are canning, and at a rapid pace, and we are ready to sell as much as we can."
Here's how you can support Lowercase: every Thursday they do home deliveries within 20 miles of the brewery, that you can order online. In addition, every Saturday you can find Marti and Smith in front of the Lowercase taproom in Georgetown standing by for contact-less, drive thru pick up (12-5pm). Lowercase beverages are also sold at select bottle shops in Seattle, you'll just need to call ahead to verify.
One thing Marti wants you to know (other than he's pretty sure his new home is haunted) is that, "we are all experiencing this is one way or another and somehow I find comfort in that - that we are in this together and you are not alone."
An ordering tip from the head brewer himself- go with the lager. You can't go wrong.