Big Dog’s Brewery is a bar, restaurant, and brewery located off the strip that has been adapting to the ever changing situations in Las Vegas. Representatives Amanda Koeller, Lead Brewer, and David Pascual, Director of Brewing Operations, have not seen anything in their five years with the company that compares with the past few months.
Like other businesses under quarantine and Phase 1 of reopening, they switched over to curbside orders, a shift Big Dog’s Brewery had never seen before. However, they had to make up for their loss of orders from bars and pools on the Strip, most of which still aren’t open. According to David, 60 to 70 percent of their typical sales are kegs for the Strip. That number is now virtually at zero.
“We had to curve our distribution from kegs and drafts to focusing mostly on packaging and selling here,” David elaborated. “It’s actually made us focus a lot on sales on the premise.” Thankfully, the Las Vegas community came out to support their local brewery and many of their customers come back to help the business stay afloat.
“Everybody was focusing on buying local beer only, just to make sure that local breweries weren’t going to go out of business,” Amanda mentioned. Their history in the community is evident from their semi annual Brew School to their seasonal beer festivals that they host on the premises. During their last Brew School event in January, they brought about 30 people into the brewery to give them a hands on experience brewing on a commercial level. With their June Brew School and Summer Beer Fest cancelled, they found a way to reach the community by hosting a virtual Beer Fest.
Big Dog’s Brewery was one of the many businesses in Las Vegas who were affected by Gov. Steve Sisolak’s bar closure mandate. When Las Vegas entered Phase 2 of reopening, the bar and restaurant went back to its regular hours. Now that some counties have regressed to “Phase 1.5,” as David put it, Big Dog’s has cut their work day in half.
“When they closed the bar, it didn’t make sense from a business standpoint to keep us open for 24 hours again,” Amanda explained. “Now we’re open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. With the bar closures, it led to more furloughs again. Now we’re back to not being able to staff as many people as we did.”
Another source of revenue for the company is gaming, which has also been affected by the bar closure mandate. With all 35 of their gambling machines located on the bar top unavailable, that was another source of revenue that Big Dog’s Brewery has temporarily lost. Thankfully, they were thinking ahead and installed 4 independent machines during the first closure. All of them were occupied on the day of the interview..
With the hardships they have been faced with, Amanda and David were proud to announce that they have been experimenting with beer.
“If there was a silver lining through all this, although we’re still going through it now, we got to have a lot of fun with the type of beers. We obviously couldn’t be doing our standard production lineup, so we’ve been doing specialty beers,” Daved said excitedly. “Just to keep something positive going.”
Although they kept a positive attitude and carried an air of pride for making it this far, Amanda and David were truthful about the emotional impact the pandemic has brought.
“Every time we hear a new mandate, of course we want everyone to be safe,” Amanda said. “It’s just difficult and disheartening every time we know something else is happening.”
“Being a small, family owned business, no one could ever foresee this,” David said. He pointed to other local businesses that have not survived, like Sin City Brewing. “We thought it was a great idea and they failed!” he exclaimed. “We’re on board with making sure everyone stays safe, but we also want to make sure that small businesses like us can survive.”
To support Big Dog’s Brewery, try some of their specialty beers like “Reboot 2020” and “Phaze 2.” Listed below are some of the current specials being offered at the restaurant.
- Burger Mondays!
- Choose a burger with three toppings and a signature brew for only $12
- All you can eat Jumbo Fried Shrimp Wednesdays!
- Have a basket of jumbo fried shrimp served with fries and homemade coleslaw for only $15.99
- Thursday Night Rib Night!
- Delicious ribs served with fries and coleslaw for only $15.99
- Friday Night Fish Fry!
- All you can eat fish and chips served with fries and homemade coleslaw for only $15.99
- Friday and Saturday Night FreshWater Walleye!
- Freshwater walleye served with fries and coleslaw for only $22.95