Suds for COVID shots: WeldWerks to host vaccine clinic on Saturday

GREELEY — WeldWerks Brewing Co. is hoping to entice Northern Coloradans who haven’t yet received a COVID-19 vaccine with the best incentive it can provide: a pint of craft beer.

The Greeley brewer is working with Weld County Public Health to host the clinic in its event tent from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, at its location at 508 Eighth Ave. Public health workers will accept walk-up registrations and are issuing only single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Those who get their shots at the event will get one free pour of the beer of their choice, and anyone who produces a vaccination card from any date can get a 16-ounce can of the brewery’s Juicy Bits IPA with a limited-edition “I Got Vaccinated” label until the 2,000 cans run out.

Co-owner and head brewer Neil Fisher told BizWest that a brewery isn’t anywhere near the first place to come to mind to host a clinic. However, he hopes the atmosphere that WeldWerks provides may entice some of those who haven’t had the time or the inclination to go to a pharmacy or mass-vaccination site.

“We obviously want to thank the folks that have already made that decision (to get vaccinated), and also to provide an opportunity for those that want to come and do it at our location and make it convenient and a more, I guess, laid-back and comfortable environment than what I think a lot of people are used to with some clinics,” he said.

WeldWerks’ effort to add an incentive to those who haven’t been vaccinated yet follows in the wake of much larger programs across the country aimed at boosting a declining daily vaccination rate.

Businesses have offered anything from free doughnuts to free beer to people who are vaccinated, and states are offering incentives ranging from a free hunting, fishing or parks pass in Maine to Ohio offering five $1 million prizes and five full-ride scholarships to incoming college students every week to residents who can show proof of their shots.

In Colorado, the daily vaccination rate has fallen as approximately 2.83 million of the estimated 5.75 million residents have received at least one shot. In Weld County, approximately 50.6% of the eligible population has received at least one dose, lagging well behind Larimer County’s 58.6% vaccination rate and well behind Boulder County’s 68.1% rate. 

Weld County has approximately 5.6% of the state’s population, while Boulder has 5.7%.

But Fisher and other breweries and service businesses also have a financial interest in promoting vaccinations.

Analysis group Datassential estimated in March that just more than 10% of all food-service establishments shuttered during the pandemic, and a potential worst-case scenario for the establishments that are still open is a reversal of the capacity restrictions that are lifted as more people get protection from the virus.

Fisher said the Colorado Brewers Guild has begun pitching its members on holding vaccination clinic events of their own across the state, and he expects that other breweries will follow suit not just because it could prove a benefit to their community, but also because it can help their bottom lines.

“We have an altruistic kind of motivation and we certainly want the best for our staff and for our community, but I’m not going to lie to everyone and say that we don’t have a financial stake in keeping this pandemic from spiking,” he said.

GREELEY — WeldWerks Brewing Co. is hoping to entice Northern Coloradans who haven’t yet received a COVID-19 vaccine with the best incentive it can provide: a pint of craft beer.

The Greeley brewer is working with Weld County Public Health to host the clinic in its event tent from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, at its location at 508 Eighth Ave. Public health workers will accept walk-up registrations and are issuing only single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Those who get their shots at the event will get one free pour of the beer of their choice, and anyone who produces a vaccination card from any date can get a 16-ounce can of the brewery’s Juicy Bits IPA with a limited-edition “I Got Vaccinated” label until the 2,000 cans run out.

Co-owner and head brewer Neil Fisher told BizWest that a brewery isn’t anywhere near the first place to come to mind to host a clinic. However, he hopes the atmosphere that WeldWerks provides may entice some of those who haven’t had the time or the inclination to go to a pharmacy or mass-vaccination site.

“We obviously want to thank the folks that have already made that decision (to get vaccinated), and also to provide an opportunity for those that want to come and do it at our location and make it convenient and a more, I guess, laid-back and comfortable environment than what I think a lot of people are used to with some clinics,” he said.

WeldWerks’ effort to add an…