Less than a year after opening its doors on Millstream Road, a veteran-owned brewing company is coming to terms with the fact that it can no longer afford to be open.
V2V Black Hops Brewery started as a non-profit for veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD in 2018, before transitioning to a for-profit brew pub in March of this year.
Because it opened at the onset of the pandemic, the brewery was ineligible for government wage subsidies and CEO Graham Hafey said their landlord refused to apply for rent subsidies. It was only at the end of September that the federal government started offering a subsidy that renters could apply to themselves.
“It comes down to a lack of government support,” Hafey said with frustration, emphasizing that small businesses have been left in the dust. “The big corporations are doing fine.”
Hafey said he and his employees are burnt out and hanging on by a thread.
People have been volunteering to help the brewery with sales and deliveries and Hafey’s wife has been helping out on top of her own full-time job, but Hafey said it hasn’t been enough. They’re struggling to pay rent and expect their landlord to pull the plug on them any day.
The brew pub will be closed from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6 while Hafey and his team reassess, but Hafey said he’s already issued termination notices to all his staff. January is a notoriously slow month for alcohol sales and without any financial support they likely won’t make it through.
“I’m done. I’m done. We’re completely tapped out.”