‘How are You Doing?’: COVID’s Impact on Zanesville, OH | “Assessing the Damage””

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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 this episode, Lori and Jay Wince reflect on their financial situation as a result of the shut down, and how things look moving forward. Small, locally owned businesses have been put in a uniquely challenging situation due to the economic disruption caused by the stay at home order, and financial assistance programs may be better suited for corporate chains than businesses like Weasel Boy Brewing Co. We also learn that the strength of the Weasel Boy establishment comes from the reasons Lori and Jay started it in the first place.

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.