You are the owner of this article.
top story

Businesses get creative to deliver during coronavirus crisis

  • 0
Filled crowler

At Buoy Beer Co., Kevin Lee dries a freshly filled crowler destined for delivery.

Local businesses have had to get creative since Gov. Kate Brown’s order to limit bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery as precautions against the coronavirus. Many have laid off much of their staff and kept a trickle of revenue through to-go options.

From beer and ice cream to soup and dough, a growing number have sprouted delivery services to reach customers.

Crowler seal

Ellen Rey seals the lid of a crowler at Buoy Beer Co.

A list provided by the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce’s website shows nearly 20 mostly independent restaurants doing deliveries.

Four local shops — Frite & Scoop, Busu, Good to Go and Idlewild Biscuits — teamed up to offer joint delivery of their products through an online ordering platform hosted by

Brian Medford, the owner of Idlewild, said it’s about providing people hunkering down at home with some unique options. “People have felt like they’ve made dinner at their house 700 times in the month of March,” he said.

Kenneth Booth, the owner of Busu, recently shut down his walk-up window on 11th Street, despite being more oriented toward pickup orders, and has since focused on pickling vegetables for the partnership.

“It’s easier for me to be more adaptable and do more things if I’m not pinned in my restaurant, having it open,” he said.

The partners bring their products to Frite & Scoop for curbside pickup. Medford handles most of the home deliveries around Astoria.

“I’m from Seattle, and so I guess I’m used to … having anything I want delivered at any time,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting how life will change in many ways after we make it through all of this stuff. And maybe delivery services will be a part of that.”

The North Coast has so far lacked the consistent demand for dedicated delivery services such as Uber Eats and Postmates, leaving a void in to-go options during the shutdown. Local cab drivers offer food and grocery delivery, but say business has dwindled.

Travis Weichal, who runs Royal Cab, said he has halved the number of drivers, who are going on shorter shifts. Most of his business is coming from medical appointments and employees deemed essential needing a ride to work, he said.

LaNay Walker, who operates Moms Cab in Astoria, said she has gone from between 25 and 35 runs a day down to about five. Since the government restrictions, she’s received only a couple of requests for grocery or food delivery. The drop in tourism already has her worried about how to keep her business afloat.

“The summer money is what gets you through the winter,” she said. “So I may not be making any money now, but it’s going to be worse come winter.”

One of the more creative local businesses has been Buoy Beer Co., which laid off most of its staff but joined many other businesses in offering pickup orders of food and beer. The pickup service eventually shut down because of large groups of people continuing to come in.

The hiatus gave Buoy time to plan a better system, said Jessyka Dart-McLean, the brewery’s marketing manager.

“We have a lot of draft beer that now has nowhere to go,” Dart-McLean said. “All the restaurants that we usually sell draft beers to, and the bars, are not ordering anymore. Our distributors have stopped ordering all draft beer. And we don’t have any way to sell it in the restaurant.”

Buoy emerged last week with a new delivery business where customers order 32-ounce crowler cans of beer online by 9 a.m. for same-day delivery in Astoria. In the first three days, Buoy delivered 260 crowlers. The brewery sold around 100 in less than two hours after a sales representative took some to Portland. Now Buoy is running out of crowlers to fill.

“All the breweries are trying to do this, and so they have a pretty big lead time,” she said. “They’re trying to produce more crowlers right now, but I think almost every brewery in the United States right now has a crowler order in — or at least the ones that have crowler machines.”

Dart-McLean said Buoy has reached out to Fort George Brewery looking for crowlers. Fort George had been selling to-go food and crowlers out of its Duane Street entrance but felt it had to close because the service was enticing tourists, said co-owner Chris Nemlowill.

Brian Bovenizer, Fort George’s marketing director, said the brewery has been working on a new pickup service.

“We think we have a zero-contact method that should allow people to get draft beer in crowlers and continue to support” Fort George, he said.

Edward Stratton is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 971-704-1719 or

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Coronavirus Sections

Get breaking news!

Coronavirus FAQ

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?

There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals, such as washing your hands and maintaining good hygiene.

Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the new coronavirus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.

What about imported animals or animal products?

CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.

What precautions should be taken for animals that have recently been imported from outside the United States?

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets and service animals, can spread COVID-19. As with any animal introduced to a new environment, animals recently imported should be observed daily for signs of illness. If an animal becomes ill, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. Call your local veterinary clinic before bringing the animal into the clinic and let them know that the animal was recently imported from another country.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

Local Sports

Local News