Test Kitchen: Get Your Paperwork in for PPP Round Two

Test Kitchen is an ongoing print column and online blog by the Publisher of Brewer Magazine and Test Kitchen Brewer Tyler Montgomery. With a 1.5 barrel brewhouse launched in 2019, this is his experience and notes from the journey along with reviews of products and services.


First off I hope everyone is staying safe and sane out there. I’ve been reading some scary conditions for breweries on the West Coast. I don’t know how much the second round of PPP will assist those businesses, but I’m hoping for the best. 

Speaking of PPP, hopefully, at this point in the second round, you’ve submitted your applications and received correspondence from your bank. In the situation that you haven’t done so, please do so immediately. 

With the Test Kitchen only having been open for a year our PPP isn’t significant, but it should keep our main employee on staff for as long as this rides out — provided we aren’t having this conversation in six months. 

That’s exactly what PPP is supposed to do; essentially remove the burden of Unemployment from the state and federal government, and allow businesses to pay salaries. Although, from what I’ve heard, some people might actually make more money during the shutdown through unemployment than they would have with their jobs. 

In Kentucky, we’re barely even discussing a reopen. Our numbers are still significant, therefore we won’t be making any decisions to engage in normal life. 

Luckily our governor still has breweries as essential businesses — I, unfortunately, can not say the same for my gym-owning friends. 

While we’re still open, brewing and trying to stay active is once again difficult. I don’t know about all of you, but simply the unknown makes operating daily difficult. I probably made the poor decision to follow COVID-19 too closely on a lot of media outlets. Initially, I would have told you that I was reading to ensure I could make the best reasoning possible. That was a total and utter failure — I feel that I know less and the amount of useless information circulating around in my mind makes future outlooks daunting. 

It’s time we consider ways to work through this. As business owners, we’re supposed to be strong-willed and able to adapt. While this may be something we’ve never been exposed to in our lifetime if we can overcome it will set us up for anything the future may hold. 

Here are a few of my tips now that I have gone through this slump: 

  1. Get up and get moving! Sitting and letting your mind stir won’t do you any good. Throw on a podcast or music and go for a walk, run or crawl — whatever you need to get the blood flowing. 
  2. File Your PPP! If you haven’t done so yet, get your paperwork complete or pick up the phone and call your CPA. If your CPA won’t take your calls, get a new CPA! 
  3. Homebrew! I don’t know how many of you I’ve interviewed over the years that can’t remember the last time they homebrewed. Swing over to your brewery, grab some random ingredients, throw them into a cooler and mess that kitchen or garage up! 
  4. Pilot! Go put that pilot system to work. Every brewery I enter anymore has some form of a pilot system sitting around that they swear gets used regularly — they don’t look like they do. Get into the brewery and get funky with some pilot brews that you can deliver to your taproom once this is over. 
  5. Read! We never truly know all that we think we do. I spend several hours a day reading blogs and insights about brewing, both on our website and others. Additionally, I’m on my third novel during the quarantine and it has been helpful to take my mind off the shutdown. The books I’ve read (and your judgments won’t bother me as you should do as I say, not as I do): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (this was because our Test Kitchen had just hosted a Harry Potter trivia and I knew far less than I thought), All the Pretty Horses (starts out slow, then moves in waves. It’s a trilogy, but I simply can not do another Cormac McCarthy novel right now), and now I’m on On Thin Ice: An Epic Final Quest into the Melting Arctic

Everyone needs to be doing something. While there is the discussion of states opening, that seems like it could get extremely political and frustrating for all of us. Keep your wits about you and find something every day that will take your mind away from this madness. Also, stay safe and healthy!


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