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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Long Road Distillers, Mitten Brewing weigh in on indoor restaurant service closure

Posted at 6:52 AM, Nov 17, 2020

Governor Whitmer announced the closure of indoor bar and restaurant services starting Wednesday. One West Michigan business was ahead of the curve.

Long Road Distillery chose on their own to end indoor dining shortly before Whitmer's announcement, earning them a shout out from her.

“We certainly didn’t expect the shout out from the governor. That’s not why we did what we did," co-owner of Long Road Distillery Kyle VanStrien said.

VanStrien says the decision wasn't one they made lightly.

“We feel a huge responsibility to care for those, and they come and visit them, as we serve them, and also for their health and wellbeing," VanStrien said.

On Mitten Brewing Company's eighth birthday Monday, they switched from dine-in services to take-out only, two days before the requirement goes into affect.

“Definitely the first and the 8th year have been the toughest so far,” co-owner of Mitten Brewing Chris Andrus said.

While this year has been tough for business, Andrus feels for his employees this time around especially.

“It’s a little more distressing this time around because there is no unemployment benefit. There is no PPP. It’s a bit of an unfunded mandate. They’re having us shut down, with no recourse for our staff," Andrus said.

Both businesses are hoping the curve can be slowed enough in coming weeks to allow them to re-open.

Long Road Distillers has gotten creative with its approach for the next few weeks. They're offering Zoom happy hours where they'll teach you how to make your favorite cocktails from them at home, with their kits, and are also providing cocktails to go.

Mitten Brewing is providing to-go services as well, and is hoping as the holidays approach, people will think to support local businesses before big box stores.