‘How are You Doing?’: COVID’s Impact on Zanesville, OH | “The Long Wait”

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‘How Are You Doing?’ is a video series crafted by WOUB’s Doug Swift to document the social, cultural, and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the Southeast Ohio region, all through a hyper-focused lens on live music venue, restaurant, and brewery Weasel Boy Brewing Company in Zanesville, OH. Installments will regularly be uploaded to WOUB Culture as the pandemic progresses. Doug Swift teaches Narrative Journalism and New Media at Denison University.

In “The Long Wait,” Weasel Boy Brewing Co. co-owner Lori Wince struggles with how long Weasel Boy will be closed to in-house business due to the coronavirus, and commiserates with customers coming through for carry out orders.

Weasel Boy Brewing Co. is located on the Muskingum River in the Putnam historic district of Zanesville, OH, owned and operated by Lori and Jay Wince who live only a few hundred feet away from their business on Woodlawn Avenue. Weasel Boy does more than make some of the most beloved beer in the region: they make pizza with locally sourced ingredients, host musicians from across a multi-state region, contribute to the ongoing efforts to rejuvenate the historic Putnam district, and draw a diverse and loyal clientele.

Governor Mike DeWine’s March 22 stay-at-home order profoundly impacted Weasel Boy Brewing. Lori and Jay were able to continue to serve pizzas to go and to refill growlers, but they had to lay off their staff and suspend brewing. With these limited operations, surrounded by chairs and stools stacked on top of tables and bars, customers kept coming in between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Lori was there, behind the counter, as Jay made pizzas in the kitchen.

And the refrain repeated itself, time and again, “How are you doing?”

This series documents a time of great challenge, and the stories to be found in a micro-brewery by the river.