Flooding damage at Left Hand Brewing halts production, but tap room will open.
By: Johnathon Shikes
Hand Brewing, which for years has proudly touted its beer as being “brewed on the banks of the mighty St. Vrain,” has been cursing the river over the past few days.
The St. Vrain, which has destroyed homes, roads and bridges all over Longmont, also flooded parts of the brewery, which is located right next to the waterway. But Left Hand spokeswoman Emily Armstrong says the damage may not be that bad. And in fact, the National Guard has given permission for the tap room to open at 3 p.m. today.
“The past few days have been rough. All in all, looks like we’ve been extremely lucky given the endless possibilities,” she wrote in an e-mail today, adding that while water flooded the loading docks and the hop garden, swamping some of the outside areas and the basement of an administrative building, it spared the taproom.
“Prior to evacuating, our team laid down malt bags in lieu of sand bags,” she says.
“The greatest concern has been power. We lost power Thursday morning (and our e-mail) and it was not restored till Saturday evening. The panel to production was soaked, so we will not be able to turn that back on till we have an electrician look over it.”
A team of employees is at the brewery today for the first time in a while, trying to dig out and assess the damage. They are also trying to ship beer off the premises to local stores.
In the meantime, Left Hand still plans to go ahead with its community-wide Oktoberfest celebration this Friday and Saturday in Roosevelt Park. The celebration, which is free and open to all ages, features live music, German-themed activities and beer.
The fest has been “refocused” on raising money for flood relief, however, sending money to Longmont Meals on Wheels, Longmont HOPE and the Left Hand Brewing Foundation, “as the first two are actively helping flood victims and our own charity is intended for disaster relief,” Armstrong says. “Moreover, every beer sold, donation made, or participation with our text-to-donate campaign will support those affected by the disaster.”
Stay Thirsty. Stay Foolish.