c / o Dunedin Brewery
When Dunedin Brewery celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend, it will be with quite a journey behind it.
On March 15, 2020, as his venue and brewery hosted a tribute to Radiohead, Michael Lyn Bryant knew what was to come and how empty it would be in a week.
25th Anniversary of the Dunedin Brewery with Dead Set Florida / Dunedin Pipe Band Grade 1
Saturday July 24. 11am
Groups at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m., special toast from the founder at 2 p.m.
Throwback 1997 Summer Peach Wheat Ale available
837 Douglas Avenue, Dunedin
“I remember walking in while they were playing ‘Karma Police’, the whole hall was full on a Sunday night, and tears were rolling down my cheeks because it was all about to end soon,” said Bryant, vice-president. Chairman and CEO of the Dunedin Brewery at Creative Loafing Tampa. .
Two days later, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs closed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Booking groups is only part of what Bryant does at Dunedin Brewery, but it’s the most rewarding job he does and while the live music has taken a break, he – live from other local musicians – took a break from what he loved most could focus on keeping the doors open at 937 Douglas Ave.
“From that point on, it was about making ends meet or losing everything. Desperation is the best way to describe this loss, ”he added.
Bryant had to lay off most of the Dunedin Brewery team and what was left of the staff turned to “Pie or Die,” a wood-fired pizza and beer-to-go operation. They settled into this model and then waited for news of the reopening.
But word never came, so Bryant brought in a Blackmagic 4K pocket cinema camera and began live streaming with a May 20 set from Row Jomah. No one was allowed to attend. Soon, Bryant opened it up to a small audience, and members of The Motet, String Cheese Incident, and the Heavy Pets were among the small crowd.
It was the first time Bryant had charged someone to see live music at the Dunedin Brewery. So he continued to stream, and soon the venue found a social distancing floor plan and immediately sold four-tray tables for $ 150. This made Bryant believe there was a demand for live music.
Artists started returning to participate, and the past year aggressively filling a schedule gave Bryant time to retool his approach to booking and budgeting.
“I looked back and noticed that I sometimes book just to fill in dates. When you don’t personally believe in an artist you bring in, it’s almost impossible to promote them. Nothing against those in whom I personally don’t believe, but as a musician myself, I have specific tastes, ”he explained. “And that taste has been the success of our live music.”
So he stopped stressing about empty dates. If no one could play a show on the weekends, they wouldn’t spend the money just to take a seat. Instead, he created an internal group to play the spreads.
“We have a full group of talented musicians who can improvise an evening of entertainment without any planning,” said Bryant. “It not only gives my staff a platform to pursue their art and talent, but also puts money in their pocket.”
As a mutating virus and unvaccinated people threaten to derail the progress of the live music scene, Bryant told CL he believes there are enough vaccines to give everyone a chance. protect from COVID-19, but he also sees the choice to get bitten as a personal person, and who “hopefully stays that way.”
Good breweries have long been known as bastions of sanitation. Cleaning and disinfecting objects is just as much a part of the beer-making process as malt, mashing and fermentation. Bryant says Dunedin Brewery has weathered 2020 with minimal incidents and minimal positive COVID tests; he trusts his instinct to make informed and rational decisions.
“It is in our nature to do things the best we can for as many people as possible while running a stable business that supports our community with a realm of art and creativity,” he said. . “We have been here for 25 years and look forward to the next 25 years, whatever the next battle we face. “
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