It’s no exaggeration to say we’re living in an entirely different world than we were this time last year.
All of us at Garrison Brothers started off 2020 with big plans. We were going to have hundreds of tastings, dozens of events at the distillery, and we were kicking off our search for the best bartender around with this year’s Bourbon Takeover Of Texas.
Then, right around March, it was like all plans were instantly dashed. Cases of COVID-19 exploded, and events were getting cancelled left and right. We had a few restaurants cancel their tastings and dinners, and then once the government order came through to shut everything down, I think we all saw just how world-changing this was going to be.
Here we are, over a year later, with more and more cases every day. They’re passing out vaccines right now, but with 2.7 million deaths and trillions of dollars of economic damage, whatever world we live in after things get back to normal won’t be the same as the one we left behind. But slowly and surely, we’re making progress, and I’d like to take a moment to look back on what the COVID-19 pandemic meant for Garrison Brothers.
When the pandemic first hit in full force and businesses were shutting down left and right, we had the benefit of a team that was already used to adapting quickly. Thanks to some quick discussions and hard work from everyone, we were able to quickly close the distillery to guests, and hunker down to wait out the pandemic and focus on continuing to make good bourbon safely.
In particular, I was especially proud of the fact that, thanks to all of our precautions, we were able to make sure every single member of the Garrison Brothers family was guaranteed a job. We also took this period to invest in safety, including making our distillery fully OSHA-certified.
As time went on, we realized that keeping our team employed and safe was only half the battle.
Our family isn’t just a bunch of people making bourbon out in Hye. It’s an entire network of people who’ve helped us get to where we are.
It’s our friends in the law enforcement and EMS communities around Hye who have helped us out and kept us safe over the years. It’s the bartenders and restaurant owners who took the time to talk to us, sample our bourbon, and decide to put us on the shelves instead of one of the bigger guys.
But during the pandemic, we saw these fine folks experiencing their own share of trouble. LE and EMS agencies were pushed to their limit, and with bars and restaurants shut down across the country, we had hundreds of friends who weren’t sure where they would be getting their next meal or their next paycheck.
As we always say, “good bourbon can change the world”, so it was time for us to get to work and do our best to help.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll take you through the creation of the Garrison Brothers Crush COVID-19 program, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for relief efforts across Texas!