How Ale Asylum is Staying Flexible Amid Pandemic

Ale Asylum in Madison, Wisconsin recently let the world know how it felt about the virus with its release of FVCK COVID on April 9.

In a snap decision, the beer was named, the label was designed and the beer was brewed in less than 24 hours after the decision was made to make the beer. Several weeks later, the product was packaged and sent out to retailers where it sold out within hours.

Though the brewery has zero keg sales at the moment, it has seen a rise in packaging orders.

Based on current trends, we have re-tooled our 2020 release schedule to focus on brands with lower ABVs,” said co-owner Hathaway Dilba. “We have definitely had to alter our brewing and production schedules to accommodate fluctuating purchasing trends, whether based on the season changing or just viral demand for FVCK COVID. To give a baseline, our packaging line (cans and bottles) would run 2-3 times a week and now it’s 4-5 and we are prepared to increase that if necessary.

A portion of the proceeds from FVCK COVID will go to two local organizations — the names haven’t yet been announced — with focuses on frontline healthcare and industry workers affected by the pandemic.

As for employees, Dilba said she’s in communication with them constantly, whether it’s to offer assistance in filing for unemployment or letting them know of their resources, such as Virtual Tip Jars, where people can donate to restaurant workers/bartenders directly via Venmo. 

“Everybody knows they will have a job when the ‘new normal’ emerges and we are doing everything we can do to help them as much as possible,” Dilba said.

With curbside pickup, which is available Wednesday through Saturday, the brewery requires car windows to be rolled up while checking IDs and proof of purchase. The pick-up table is continuously bleached, and employees are required to wear gloves and encouraged to wear masks.

“When this lifts, there will be no stone left unturned when planning a celebration,” Dilba said. “Safely, of course.”

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