An Open Letter to Our Standing Stone Customers:
Standing Stone Brewing Company is lucky enough to have spent the past 23 years doing what we love: brewing delicious beer in-house, preparing wholesome, locally sourced pub fare and (best of all) giving back to our community through our donations programs. In the past year however, the manner with which we have worked to accomplish these goals has changed drastically. No one could have guessed a year ago that we would currently be in the midst of a global pandemic, in which a virus known as COVID-19 would dominate nearly every aspect of our lives.
The economy, and especially small businesses like ours, have been hit hard by this pandemic. An immediate shut down of in-house dining back in March left us reeling. The future of our company, and the livelihoods of our staff and their families, remained unknown. As we worked to navigate the extremely murky waters we were suddenly faced with, it was unclear if we would survive. The economics were simple; without the same volume of customers we were used to serving in the “typically profitable” summer months, maintaining enough profit to stay open was not feasible. Like many local businesses here in Ashland, we turned to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by the Federal Government, to provide financial assistance. When we eventually reopened in May for dine-in service, we were faced with the somber reality of operating with less than half of our tables (inside and out) in order to maintain safe social distancing requirements. Sanitation practices were heavily increased, and the masks we were introduced to months earlier, at the start of the pandemic, were now the new “uniform” worn by our entire staff.
Currently, we are “still standing,” but as we head into the Winter season, we are going to rely heavily on local patronage to help keep our doors open. As such, we hope to either enclose our open-air patio or install space heaters to continue providing the option of outdoor seating. We also hope to install dividers between our tables to maintain the safety of our guests and provide more seating within the restaurant.
As if the pandemic wasn’t devastating enough, our beautiful valley was also faced with extreme adversity when the Almeda Fire blazed a devastating path through the North side of our community and into the neighboring cities of Talent and Phoenix. The damage that was left in the wake of Almeda, and several other large fires, was unlike anything seen before here in Jackson County.
While Standing Stone survived the fires, we recognize that there are so many other businesses and homes that did not. In light of this, we want to do what we can to help. Our brew master has created a special release beer appropriately named “Still Standing IPA.”
It is a crisp, Autumnal IPA with large amounts of Citra & Azacca hops. Following a double dry hop, it now sits at 7.25% ABV and has an IBU of 83. For every pint sold, Standing Stone will donate a portion to local non-profit organization, ACCESS. ACCESS has provided essential services such as food, housing and financial assistance to those in need, here in Jackson County, since 1976. ACCESS currently has a Fire Relief & Recovery Program in place to assist those who were directly affected by the Almeda Fire. Last year ACCESS distributed more than 5.3 million pounds of food throughout the County, and over the past few months they have distributed more than 35,000 emergency food boxes due to COVID and the fires.
For every dollar donated to them, they are able to provide FOUR meals for families struggling with food insecurity. For more information about ACCESS, and how you can donate to them directly, please visit their website at http://www.accesshelps.org.
Additionally, a portion of these proceeds will also go to a local family affected by the Almeda Fire. This is where you, our valued customers, come in; we invite you to nominate one family by briefly sharing their story with us. You may e-mail all nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share this post, so that we may consider as many nominations as possible.
In closing, we are so very grateful to all of our patrons, and we promise that as long as our doors are open, we are committed to providing a safe, sanitary environment for our guests, and we will continue to donate to those in need. Thank you all so much for your continued support. Stay safe out there and mask up!
The Standing Stone Team