'It was a surreal moment being told that pubs and restaurants had to close'
Phil Garvey, Cap and Collar

Phil Garvey is the owner of Cap and Collar, a small neighbourhood bar in Saltaire that opened in 2014 and specialises in modern craft beers. We caught up with him to find out how the Cap has responded to corona-virus.

How has the corona virus affected The Cap & Collar so far?

We closed our doors at 9pm on Friday 20th March. It was a surreal moment listening to Boris’ press conference that evening and being told that pubs and restaurants had to close that night. Lockdown had been anticipated so I’d spent most of that week putting together an online shop to ensure that the business could continue trading in some capacity once closed.

What can your customers do to support you during the lock down?

Our online shop went live on 19th March and I’ve been making non-contact beer deliveries across Saltaire, Baildon and Bingley on Friday and Saturday evenings. Support from both existing and new customers has been amazing and it’s been a great way of staying in touch with the Cap and Collar “family”.

You work with lots of independent breweries and suppliers, how is the situation effecting these businesses and have you been able to support them?

Everyone has been effected by this, no one has been immune to the seismic changes this has brought to the hospitality sector. Cap and Collar is supporting as many local breweries as possible by continuing to buy beer from them. Primarily these are breweries which we already have strong relationships with and who themselves have supported our business over the last six years.

"Cap and Collar is supporting as many local breweries as possible by continuing to buy beer from them. Primarily these are breweries which we already have strong relationships with and who themselves have supported our business over the last six years.

What have you learned from the lock down and is there anything you will do differently as a business once things return to normal?

The benefit of being a small business is that you can adapt to change quicker than bigger organisations and venues. Both Nathan [Assistant Manager] and I had wanted to develop and expand our take-out offering and in the weeks leading up to lockdown we’d started pushing take-out beers ahead of launching our online shop. It’s a great addition to the Cap’s main drink-in offering and it’s something that we will continue with once we are able to re-open the Cap. It’s been a learning curve as the online / take-out business is a very different market place but there’s been a great response so far and we hope that we can continue to provide people with a great selection of beers and a personal, Cap and Collar-like, service!

We have seen lots of examples of innovation and collaboration over the past few weeks, do you think the situation has brought local independents closer together?

Pre-Covid 19 there were aleady strong relationships between the local independents in Saltaire. It’s one of the best things about running a business in the village and its surrounds. Unfortunately many of our friends have had to temporarily stop trading but it’s great to see people like Joel (Giddy Arts) making big differences with his eco refill shop!

What do you think the long term impact will be on your business and on the beer industry post-Covid?

There are many unknowns at the moment. A lot will depend on how long the current cessation of business continues for as that will have an impact on the number of breweries and venues that aren’t able to ride this particular storm. In the meantime we will remain open for business in an online capacity and see how the landscape looks after the next lockdown review.

Is there anything you have been enjoying about the lockdown? What have you been doing to keep yourselves busy (at home or with the business)?

Early nights! The combination of running a bar and having two children under 4 years means there isn’t much time for sleep! It has been a really busy period so far in setting up and running the delivery business but when I get a spare moment I can be found with a paint brush in hand as we’re trying to renovate and redecorate our house!

Finally, if we could order one thing from you to help us though the isolation, what would it be?

Please take a look at our online shop and if there is anything of interest pop an order in! The purchase of bag-in-box beers is particularly helpful as these are being filled from the beers we already have in our own cellar so buying them means they’re not going to go to waste. You can find our online shop here -> tinyurl.com/capncollar

The benefit of being a small business is that you can adapt to change quicker than bigger organisations and venues. Both Nathan [Assistant Manager] and I had wanted to develop and expand our take-out offering and in the weeks leading up to lockdown we'd started pushing take-out beers ahead of launching our online shop.

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