Walker brewery opens during pandemic uncertainty

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s not a more shaky period of time to open a new business than during a pandemic.

After bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen nearly a month ago, some are now opening their doors for the first time — just like Lost Art Brewhouse in Walker.

“The unpredictable nature of everything was the hardest thing to get through,” said Brad Lawrence, co-owner of the Lost Art Brewhouse. “Just not knowing if you prepare for something this week if it’s even going to be relevant by next week.”

This small brewery is two years in the making, and COVID-19’s effect on the economy already caused problems before the doors ever opened.

“We originally planned on opening in March,” co-owner Mike Smith said. “So, yes, it did hurt financially and this is as good of a time as it’s going to get because we definitely wanted to open in the summertime.”

The two lifelong friends run the whole show: the brewing, the selling and the packaging.

And it’s their grab-and-go canned business model that’s making business a possibility right now.

“Friends, family and future customers can go and enjoy it at home in the safety of small groups,” he said.

Lost Art Brewhouse in Walker.

And in the two hours leading into their grand opening, Lost Art Brewhouse had more than 40 orders.

“You got to take what hand’s dealt to you and run with it,” Smith said.

It’s a solid start with an uncertain future that’s out of their hands.

“Anybody’s guess at this point,” Lawrence said. “But we would just like to continue to be stable and be able to work through these COVID times and see where things go from there.”

They plan on adding tables inside, free tastings and live music in August.