LOS GATOS (KPIX 5) — In a previous life, professional struggles for Kevin Youkilis meant going 0-for-12 in three games with the Boston Red Sox. Youkilis carried a .281 lifetime batting average, so droughts at the plate were scarce.
Today, Youkilis faces a different kind of professional struggle, and his concerns are much more relatable to those trying to keep their head above water during a national crisis.READ MORE: Volunteers Spread Out Across Bay Area for Annual Coastal Cleanup
Youkilis is the owner of Loma Brewing Company in downtown Los Gatos. Pre-pandemic, his taproom was a popular place to grab a craft beer and a bite. The double IPA brew Greek God of Hops — a nod to his nickname as a player — was a favorite among beer connoisseurs.
KPIX profiled Loma Brewing in 2018, and Youkilis was hoping to take the business to the next level.
“Hopefully taking our beer all the way across the country where anyone in any state can have it,” he said. “That would be my dream, and that would be up there with winning a World Series.”
But since March, like all restaurant businesses in the Bay Area, Youkilis has shuttered his taproom. All of his sales are either pickup or delivery and he estimates his business is down 80% since the pandemic hit.
“We were helped out by the PPP loan,” he said. “We have people with a lot of tenacity that are doing their part to keep Loma Brewing afloat.”
They’ve cut back on importing hops which means Greek God of Hops is temporarily off the beer list.
“We’ve been brewing stuff with hops that we have in-house and trying not to spend as much money,” he said.
He’s also converted part of his space into a recording studio where he plans to launch “The Greek God of Hops” podcast which will cover a variety of business related topics.READ MORE: San Francisco Celebrates Rise of Lowrider Community With Car Show and Cruise
Youkilis has tried to build his brand without overt references to his all-star career, but after winning two World Series in ten big league seasons, he’s keeping a close eye on baseball’s current labor negotiations.
“I’m just not optimistic and I want to be optimistic,” he said of impasse between owners and players to get the season started.
Youkilis was a union representative during his career and leans in favor of the players who are unhappy about the pay-cuts owners are trying to impose.
Owners claim they are poised to lose billions without fans in the ballparks.
“The owners don’t open up their books ever,” he said. “If they opened up their books I think people would be more empathetic and understanding in certain situations.”
Above everything else, Youkilis hopes baseball can return safely without having to entirely cancel the season. He hopes the sport can find peace without alienating the fanbase.
“You have to be very careful,” he said. “They are the ones coming to the games that pay your salaries.”
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