Kevin Youkilis knows about struggles and hardships; his MLB career ended after a back injury limited him to 28 games with the 2013 Yankees and his final appearance on June 13 of that year saw him go 0-for-7 in an 18-inning Yankees loss to the Athletics in Oakland.
These days, Youkilis remains in the Bay Area, hoping his second career doesn’t succumb to a similar fate, this one borne of the economic hardships surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youkilis’ new passion is one many enjoy while enjoying a ballgame: beer, specifically the Loma Brewing Company in Los Gatos, Calif., that he is a co-owner of. The brewery has earned rave reviews, being named the California Commercial Beer Brewery of the Year at the 2017 California State Fair, thanks in part to its flagship beverage — a double IPA named “Greek God of Hops” in homage to his nickname.
However, the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns in California have shuttered LBC’s taproom for nearly three months, and Youkilis told CBS San Francisco that he estimates an 80 percent drop in business as a result of the pandemic, with reason for concern of solvency.
“We were helped out by the PPP loan,” Youkilis told CBS San Francisco, “and we have people with a lot of tenacity that are doing their part to keep Loma Brewing afloat.”
However, cutbacks mean things like less importing of hops, which has taken Greek God of Hops off the menu for now, with Loma concentrating on “brewing stuff with hops that we have in-house and trying not to spend as much money,” according to Youk.
A big-time blow to his dream of taking Loma’s product national, but Youkilis hopes that converting part of his real estate footprint into a recording studio and kicking off a new business-related podcast named after his signature swill will help stem the tide for now.
In the meantime, he’s also kept up with the current negotiations around his former employers, and the former MLBPA union rep is a little more bearish than most about the prospects of an MLB season in 2020.
“I’m just not optimistic and I want to be optimistic,” Youk said. “The owners don’t open up their books ever, and if they opened up their books, I think people would be more empathetic and understanding in certain situations.”