Let me take you back a month or so.
It was the middle of a busy Saturday arvo and everyone was pumped for another cracking day of fresh beer and good times.
At 2pm we received word that as a result of a recent spike in COVID cases, we’d need to shut the doors by 6pm - in only 4hrs time!
By 2:15pm the phone was ringing hot
“Are you guys at capacity?”
“Can we come down for a pint now before you shut?”.
I walked to the front to see hordes of punters power walking down Orchard Road, there was panic in their eyes as they tripped over old tree roots along the industrial foot paths ill equipped for such a stampede.
We shuffled everyone in as quickly and safely as possible. One of our bartenders, Ed, looked at me worried “Nick, we’ve got a lot of people in here… should we put the chain up?” To which I said, “If there’s a spare seat and it’s got social distance, get a bum on it!”
I felt like it was the last day before prohibition. Punters were so thirsty they’d order 3 pints at a time… just for themselves! Fair enough too, the clock was ticking and the end of the world was upon us.
I thought about tearing off my mask, embracing my wife and saying something like “We only have 15mins left… what do you wanna do?”.
But then the reality sunk in… We were about to close.
For 2 weeks.
Having just done the numbers with our accountant I knew what that meant. We were about to lose a lot of money very quickly.
Since we started, Lexi and I have worked for nothing while we got things set up and build up a bit of working capital. Prior to lockdown, the numbers were looking decent, and the brewery was finally at a point where we could start to recover some of the big investment we’d put into Bucketty’s.
“Fuck this shit…” I said to nobody in particular
“Ok, we’ll just have to suck it up and do takeaways.”
But just then my brain lit up as I thought about our options.
The layout of our building offered access at the front and rear, so maybe we could do some kinda drive through?
We’d need to dismantle the stage, that pool table will need to move, oh and the light? Shit… how are we gonna move that? Ah… I dunno, we’ll work it out. The food truck will need to move, we’ll shift the register to the front door, get those fridges in place. What about this booth that’s screwed and nailed into place? Ah…. I dunno, we’ll work it out.
Ok, that’s what we’re going to do. A bloody drive through brewery!
I declared to everyone on shift that as soon as we closed, we’d pull the place apart and create a drive through.
“Hazzah!” we all cheered.
As 5:55pm rolled around I surveyed the tap room of bloated punters trying to fit still-full pints into their gobs. “Sorry mate, you’ve gotta finish that now” I said. This bloke then picked up his full pint of lager, looked at me, spent a few seconds finding his focus and said “You…. caaaan’t take this. It’s mine. You caaaaaan’t touch me, don’t touch me!”.
“Mate, you don’t have a choice. The police are coming, finish it now or forever hold your peace.” He forced down another sip, belched and shook his head “I can’t…. (hiccup)… I can’t do it”.
With that, he and his mates begrudgingly walked out, and our focus shifted to the drive through.
I was humbled to see the entire team stay back and help do what needed to be done. Within 60mins the place looked mint. With Asher's help, we even managed to hand paint a Bucketty’s Drive-Through sign and get some lights out onto the street to draw attention to our new invention.
We were ready by 6:55pm, I quickly chucked a post on Instagram and by 7:05pm we had our first drive through customers rolling through. Yeow!
We all poured beers and clinked glasses in victory. Dan rolled out his skateboard and demonstrated surprising skills for a 38yo father, kickflipping and ollying up and down the now clear tap room.
Local news picked up the story and we’ve welcomed a steady stream of cars each day buying tins, growler fills and food from our Dope Fusion menu.
But it’s kinda weird. Each day I get asked several times “How’s it going?”
It is very cool having a drive through and support from locals has been wonderful, but we’re only doing a fraction of the sales we normally would each week, while our costs continue. So, I never really know how to answer that question…
“It’s been great! Thanks for the support!” Is my go-to, which is absolutely true. But deep down I just want this shit to be over.
I love welcoming punters through our front door Bucketty’s. Everyone that walks in is chomping for a good time and it’s an honour for so many locals to choose our joint as the place they want to be each week. A place where they can forget about the distractions of life and reconnect with themselves and their community.
There’s nothing like the feeling of sharing few fresh pints in good company, and I bloody miss that... I reckon we all do.
Fingers and toes crossed that we can get back to it again soon.