HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In the last month, four breweries in the state have announced they are closing their doors for good. The Connecticut Brewers Guild said others are just trying to hang on through the next month or two as COVID numbers continue to dip and warm weather is on its way.
Thomas Hooker Live is a new venue with a stage, live music and a lot of beer. They opened at the end of October and then the omicron variant hit. The workers are not back in Hartford yet and they are having trouble finding customers.
“We have 65 employees and we have a pretty sizable payroll,” said Curt Cameron of Thomas Hooker Live. “How do I reduce my costs and do that at a time when we are down to 30% normal revenue, it is a scary number.”
They are adding entertainment to their brewery to try and draw in customers during the COVID spike. They are getting creative, bringing in dueling pianos and hosting a drag queen brunch on Sundays.
“We do try and keep tables apart, we let people who know each other sit together and we put in fresh air make up systems here that bring in fresh air from the outside, we want to make sure we don’t have a lot of stale air in here,” Cameron said. “So we are doing a lot of the right things to help mitigate the risk.”
“So we are trying to figure out how to keep the lights on, how to reduce costs and we’re really asking people to come out and support. We will space you and will be careful, but come on out and support,” Cameron said.
Phil Pappas, executive director of the Connecticut Brewers Guild, said they will be announcing a beer event shortly.
“I don’t want to give away too much, but events are back, taprooms are back, beer gardens, and it’s going to be a great 2022,” Pappas said.
As for Thomas Hooker Live, they anxiously await spring along with the other beer gardens.