Night Shift Brewing, a trendy and fast-growing craft brewery located near Boston, has called off plans for a $12-million expansion into Philadelphia.
Originally the brewery had prepared to move into a 130,000-square-foot location. Now, Night Shift has terminated this lease with its landlord.
This news from a major craft player in the Northeast comes as the national craft industry grapples with enormous economic fallout from COVID-19.
Night Shift in February had announced plans for the Philadelphia brewery expansion, built around a massive taproom. Months later, the sudden pandemic closed taprooms nationwide, imperiling the project.
“The COVID-19 pandemic shook our business to the core, and obviously almost everything outside of it,” the company says in a post on its website. “We’re lucky that we’re still in operation and able to see ourselves coming out of this crisis intact. But pushing forward on our Philly project has become too dangerous, threatening a potential collapse of NSB if we don’t pull the plug now. So, hard as it is, that’s what we’re doing.”
“To go from house-hunting in Philly over the 2019 holidays, to almost kick-starting construction in February, to an abrupt end of the project in April has been an emotional whirlwind and completely deflating,” the post continues. “That said, we are resilient and scrappy, and have always found a way to make our dreams a reality. In the short-term, that means our independent, family-owned business needs to focus on core operations to weather this crisis. In the long-term, we hope this means we’ll be in a better position than ever to revisit our vision for Philly.”
While larger craft breweries like Night Shift — with established distribution and many loyal fans — will likely survive the shutdown, the future appears grimmer for smaller and newer breweries.