Eric Daponte spent the past eight months on the road in HRM. Four, sometimes five days a week, he's behind the wheel, bringing a pandemic necessity to people's doors.
"Everyone is really stoked when you show up with beer," Daponte says. "When people ring their doorbell they're usually like, 'Who the hell is this at my front door?' They don't get a lot of that anymore. Then when they see it's the beer guy, they're usually like 'Oh sick! I'm so happy to see you!'"
Although it wasn't on the job description when he first started at the 2 Crows Brewing taproom in February, the pandemic meant Daponte's main role quickly became delivery driver. With 2 Crows' online store up and running almost immediately, the Brunswick Street brewery was soon getting between 50 and 60 orders a day.
"There were two drivers every day, so one would take our big Mercedes Sprinter van, and then someone else would take one of the owners' Ford Escapes, and we would just load them up with orders," says Daponte.
Since 2 Crows offers to deliver anywhere in the municipality with a $50 minimum order, Daponte put in a lot of kilometres.
"There's some days you have to drive out to Peggys Cove for one delivery and then you have to come all the way back into the city to do the rest," he says. "But I think one of the reasons we found a lot of success with it is because we didn't really have a defined destination. It was just, if you're in the HRM we'll come to you."
Originally from Alberta, Daponte also says it's been a good way to learn his way around the city. "I don't have to use my GPS anymore."
Like many things in the pandemic, the novelty of doorstep delivery soon became normal.
"There was definitely some sort of shared respect between driver and the person ordering beer. Where it was like, you drop it on the front porch, knock on the door, get back in your vehicle. People were really respectful of that, just to limit that contact as much as possible," Daponte says.
And despite barking dogs and heavy kegs, he feels like a celebrity when people see him rolling through their neighbourhood. "Lots of people chasing me down the street asking if they could buy beer out of the truck. It makes you feel a little bit like the ice cream man—just for adults."