ELDERSBURG, Md. (WJZ) — A Carroll County brewery is one of thousands of family-operated businesses feeling the economic and emotional strain of having to close down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mike McKelvin, Co-owner of 1623 Brewing Company, unveiled his brand new brewery in Eldersburg, Maryland, three weeks ago to a packed house.

“I never knew that part of my responsibility as an owner of a brewery, [would be] to worry about a pandemic,” McKelvin said. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced McKelvin and his family to close its brewing house indefinitely.

“We’re having to shift the way we brew,” Zac Rissmiller, Head Brewer and Co-owner at 1623 Brewing Company, said.

Typically, distribution accounts for 15 percent of the business. Now, it’s responsible for 100 percent of the revenue flowing through 1623 Brewing Company.

“In one fell swoop, there goes sports, there goes graduation after four years of working hard to get where they are,” Sandra McKelvin, Co-owner of 1623 Brewing Company, said. 

Jordan and Cameron McKelvin are both college seniors and competitive athletes forced to forgo championship games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have a coach that she has always said, you can only control the things that you can control, and I feel like I’ve really used her words in this situation,” Jordan McKelvin, a student at James Madison, said. 

“Being with a team of 25 every single day, you’re with those girls a huge chunk of them time,” Cameron McKelvin, a student at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, said. 

As in business and in life, the family said they’ll bounce back, but realize that not everyone is as fortunate.

“But a lot of small business owners won’t be able to because they didn’t foresee that not only would they be shut down but they won’t be able to do anything and that makes things really difficult,” Mike McKelvin said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff

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