Recent changes – including removal of a wall – bring life back to local brewery as it tries to overcome state regulations that limit restaurants

Ongoing changes in health and safety standards for COVID-19 and new orders from the Health Department urged the owners of Dead Bear Brewery in Grayling to make some wall-breaking changes.
Jean Krebs, Dead Bear Brewery General Manager, knew the changes were needed after the brewery and restaurant had been successful throughout the summer meeting health department standards; however, with changes happening this winter the standard was raised. 
“I didn’t know if we needed to get one of those big white tents or the igloo tents outside, even though we had our patio, we still had too many walls,” said Krebs.
Locals businesses have all been collectively hit with tough times during the pandemic, if not with trying to adjust to less customers or visitors, or adjusting to changing health and safety standards from the Health Department. The recent orders from the Health Department require carry-out orders or outdoor dining from restaurants, limiting their ability to serve the community and keep employees with a stable income. 
“I knew we had to do something, we had to keep the doors open, and our servers weren’t making any money with just take-out orders. We had to make some fast decisions,” said Krebs.
Krebs had a conversation with her father during the evening. She had been looking at the extra wall in the patio that they didn’t need, and then the decision to take down the wall was made. 
Construction began the next morning with an attempt to find a proper door. After a few attempts a new garage door was found with the help of a man named Larry at Michigan Overhead Door, and L & P Custom Homes. The Krebs got to work along with a few willing workers such as John Petroff, Charlie Cadeau, Ron Jacobs, and Mark Aungst.
In about a day in a half the patio was opened for outdoor dining with the approval from the Health Department. 
“It was tricky, at first, to make the decision because as a business during this time you have to decide what is worth the cost for either a sacrifrice or investment, and these days it’s hard to tell because you don’t know what the future is going to look like,” said Krebs. 
Krebs posted about the new changes on the Dead Bear Brewery Facebook page, letting customers know what was going on and their efforts to stay open, to serve the community, and offer some the same great service. As luck would have it, the post went viral on Facebook, reaching (at the time of this printing) 52,000 views, according to Krebs. 
“We’ve had people who live two hours away make the trip just to drive around Grayling and come have lunch or dinner here with us,” said Krebs.
The support has monumentally increased sales, according to Krebs. 
“We had an outdoor heating system before but you’re still eating outdoors in Northern Michigan in December, so we added four standing heaters and they’ve helped a lot. We have people show up all bundled up in coats and hats and gloves, but they keep showing up,” said Krebs.
The support for this local business has likely helped the business and staff round an already tough corner during COVID-19 and helped make the holiday season a little less stressful and hectic. 
Dead Bear Brewery will remain open for outdoor dining and carry-out orders Sundays from noon to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Reservations and calling ahead are suggested for outdoor dining as space may be limited at (989) 745-6289.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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