Cheers!

By Alison Fox
Updated June 06, 2020
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While coronavirus has shut down pretty much all socializing, and decompressing after work now means staying in the same room you've been in all day anyway, the New York State Brewers Association has come to our rescue — with virtual happy hour.

The association has been hosting  daily happy hours with various breweries from all over the state, and anyone with a wifi connection can enjoy.

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“It’s a little bit of a human connection that most of us in the beer industry finish our day with a couple of beers with a couple of friends. This is a way to continue that,” Chris Ericson, who owns The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery and the Big Slide Brewery & Public House and is also the president of the board of directors for NYSBA, told Travel + Leisure. “We are used to being around a lot of people all day and interacting with thousands of customers each day. So to go from that to nothing... that's hard mentally.”

For one hour each night, starting at 6:30 p.m., a different brewery hosts a Facebook Live where customers and beer lovers can write in with questions as well as get to know the personalities behind some of the more than 400 breweries in New York state. The theme of the happy hours are up to that evening’s host, and have included everything from a March Madness-style bracket battle for who the best quarantine celebrity would be to tours of their breweries.

“Each brewer is bringing their own twist and their own personality to each one of these. They're a lot of fun,” Paul Leone, the executive director of the NYSBA, told T+L, adding: “New York is such a big state... it gives people an opportunity that they might not [get to] go to these breweries normally, but may now visit these breweries if they happen to travel because they know a bit more.”

The nightly videos have been averaging about 100 viewers at any given time, he said.

“It’s been a slow growing wave as it gets out there. This was a fun idea and now all of the sudden people are noticing and the audience is growing every night,” Leone said, adding these happy hours may become a regular thing. “I think things are forever changed after all of this -- I don’t see this going away after this is all over.”

As of now the initiative has enough brewers signed up to participating to keep the post-WFH party going til April.