December 16th, 2020 will forever be a dark day in Northwest Indiana. That is the day that 3 Floyds Brewing Co. announced they will be permanently closing their famed brewpub. This year has taken a lot from so many people across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For a small town in the Northwest Indiana suburbs of Chicago, part of its identity will now be lost.
When the initial decision to not reopen the brewpub was announced, I wrote about it on a personal level having grown up in Munster and what the decision meant to me. I was always hopeful that it would simply be a momentary blip on the radar for the iconic brewery, so this news hurts. As I talked about previously, in many ways 3 Floyds was a point of pride for Munster residents and it was something that put our small town on the map. People from all over the country, and the world for that matter, would come to our town for Dark Lord Day and experience what those of us who grew up and watched this brewery evolve have always known. This was a world-class establishment with a unique identity and brand that was a part of us.
We’ve all been living this COVID-19 nightmare since early this year, and we have seen countless stories of family-owned businesses and restaurants being on life support. It’s now hit really close to home for those of us who grew up with 3 Floyds. Yes, they are still going to brewing their extensive line of beers, but to capture the true experience of 3 Floyds, you really needed to experience the brewpub first hand. Unfortunately, we will be deprived of that opportunity going forward.
I can’t put into words how much I enjoyed taking clients to the brewpub for a business lunch and seeing them open up to it. After the initial shock of thrash metal and Kung Fu movies that adorned the establishment wore off, they truly enjoyed it and the charm wore off on them. Those of us who were fans of the brewery during its early days continued to be amazed at its growth and international exposure that took it from a small-town watering hole to a tourist attraction. Now that attraction is no more and, to be frank, it sucks.
It’s hard to put into words the disappointment this news is bringing many of us loyal 3 Floyds supporters. Our disappointment, however, pales in comparison to the disappointment that has to be felt by the people who are having their livelihoods taken from them by this decision. Going into the brewpub, it was common to see the same faces for years at a time and that helped create that neighborhood watering hole feel. It was those people that truly represented what 3 Floyds was all about, and knowing that these people that gave so much have had their lives turned upside down is truly heartbreaking.
Sadly, we know 3 Floyds will not be the last brewpub to see its operations cease as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The restaurant business is on life support nationwide, and more and more people will see their lives changed forever in the coming months. In many ways, the fabric of our local communities dies a little bit every time a business like 3 Floyds has to make a decision like this. Many people have already gone through this, and many more will in the coming weeks and months. If you haven’t gone through it yet with one of your favorite establishments, I hope you don’t.
With the news of a vaccine beginning to be administered, we are, hopefully, getting closer to the end of this nightmare. What will be left when we come out of this remains to be seen at this point. I do know my favorite place to go grab a beer is gone though. This stark reality is one that many people across the country are facing. So when things do go back to some level of normalcy, go support your local brewpub instead of some national restaurant group. These people need your support now more than ever.
In the end, a part of our small town has been taken from us by this pandemic. It’s a hard pill to swallow and one that will hurt for a while. I’ll hold out hope that maybe one day, the brewpub will reopen. Things look bleak right now but considering how the brand has grown to this point, if there is anyone that can come back at some point I believe it’s 3 Floyds. I don’t know if or when that day will ever come, but if it does I know where I’ll be on that day.