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Knoxville breweries utilize outdoor space to maximize capacity and sales in 2021

Balter Beerworks said they broke their yearly sales record by 30% in 2021 by expanding their footprint outdoors.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With tight Covid-19 restrictions in 2020 Knoxville breweries moved seating outside to get their businesses back on track.

Balter Beerworks in downtown Knoxville expanded much of their seating to the outdoors to increase capacity.

“I think that we've done or at least tried to do a good job of adapting to what we can and keep our business going,” Balter assistant manager Patrick Butler said.

To accommodate customers in the cold, the brewery added heaters, fires pits, and igloo-like canopies over the tables to keep folks warm.

“We get tons of positive feedback on the igloos,” Bulter said. “Like we had people calling and asking for them all the time making sure we have them.”

Butler added the brewery made 30% more in sales in 2021 than they ever have before. 

Bearden Beer Market in West Knoxville has always been an outdoor business.

“Being outdoors, you can just relax, you can social distance, everything like that,” said General Manager, Cody Pierce. “It's just been beneficial for us in that regard.”

Both brewers said outdoor seating could be the new normal going forward for other Knoxville businesses.

“Hopefully we can see that in more places and get more outdoor spaces and things that allow people to feel comfortable and safe and in the location so that we can keep all of our local businesses alive for Knoxville,” Butler added. “It's good for all of us.”

Bearden Beer Market said they plan to open another location in the Choto area before Summer 2022.