It will shock no one to hear 2020 has been brutal for bars and breweries. During Japan’s state of emergency, many breweries stopped making beer entirely, having no customers to sell to, and most are still seeing sales as low as 30% compared to the same time last year.

As bad as it’s been for long-standing establishments with loyal followers, for new entrants it’s been even tougher. One company, Dig the Line, announced late last year that it would begin importing European craft beers and open a bottle shop and tap room in Kyoto’s new ShinPuhKan shopping and hotel complex. In December 2019, it seemed like a great idea, and the bar was scheduled to open in early April.

When Dig the Line finally had the chance to open its doors in June, it was to a city without tourists, in a country where beer festivals, a key venue for promoting new imports, had nearly all been canceled.