East Sixth Brewing Co. will be shutting down its taproom due to the ongoing pandemic.
In a post on its website and social media accounts, the Little Rock brewery announced that it would be closing the taproom “until further notice.” East Sixth Brewing Co. cited increasing case counts and the upcoming winter months as reasons for shuttering its taproom for now.
“The hard truth is that we can’t sustain taproom operations in this climate – especially as COVID-19 cases continue to rise with colder weather on the horizon and repeated talks of a second wave,” the post read.
Owner John Binyon told Arkansas Money & Politics that East Sixth Brewing Co. will continue brewing beer, noting that it was currently in the process of canning its products.
“We are going to continue to operate the brewery,” he said. “COVID just made it impossible with the seating restrictions.” He noted that the owners were focused on protecting the health of their employees and customers.
Binyon expects the company to expand its volume of select beers but is not planning a drastic increase of barrels. Instead, East Sixth Brewing Co. will be shifting priorities from specialty beers to its core beers. The specialty beers, he said, are a main driver for in-person visits to the taproom, while the core products are more readily available at local liquor stores and other retail establishments where East Sixth Brewing Co. products are available.
According to Binyon, specialty beers will continue to be made and made available to local restaurants and taprooms that stock East Sixth Brewing Co.’s brews.
Formerly known as Rebel Kettle, East Sixth Brewing Co. unveiled its new branding in June 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. Marketing director Becca Bona told AMP in a September interview that the rebrand attracted substantial attention with new brews (and a new name) being introduced.
“We were given the opportunity to rebrand, which large companies do all the time and keep soldiering on. We just decided that some of the ideas they had back in the brewery were really off the wall [under the] Rebel Kettle branding,” she said.