Eli’s Restaurant Group is a restaurant chain based in Hamden, Conn. They operate a local chain of bistros and pubs that combine warm, friendly, inviting atmospheres, upscale American cuisine and lots of local-focused craft beer options (much of those served at Eli’s signature horseshoe bars). In late February, Eli’s Restaurant Group kicked off its Eli’s Craft Beer Project, a campaign highlighting craft breweries across the state and New England and their contribution not only to Eli’s Restaurant Group but to the community and local economy. A part of the campaign is creating videos to highlight NE craft. The first video focused on Two Roads Brewing Co.
Today, as March Madness sends demand for craft beer jumping across the state — and while folks are gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day — Eli’s Craft Beer Project released its second video ad, highlighting Counter Weight Brewing Co. in Hamden, Conn. Narrated by two Eli’s bartenders — Tom Hanley of Eli’s Orange and Ted Iosifidis of Eli’s Tavern — the ad features appearances from State Senator George Logan and State Representative Josh Elliott, both of whom represent parts of Hamden, as well as Counter Weight employees and craft beer enthusiasts.
“It makes a big difference when the craft beer is brewed right next to where you live,” said Iosifidis. “It’s great tasting beer, and you can’t beat it. When you see folks at Counter Weight making their own beer, and their own dream, it means opportunity. In turn, when we sell Counterweight craft beer at Eli’s, it’s helping that dream come true, helping the American Dream come true and selling that opportunity.”
Counter Weight is based in Hamden, occupying a retro-fitted gym at the bottom of a cul-de-sac. Its founder, Matt Westfall, following a decade-long tenure as part-owner and head brewer at New England Brewing Co., ventured off on his own to start Counter Weight in March 2017.
Since opening up shop, restaurants — including Eli’s Restaurant Group locations — regularly have Counter Weight’s great-tasting craft beers on tap. In fact, Eli’s Orange considers Counter Weight’s Headway IPA one of its house beers, meaning that it always has it on tap, according to Hanley in the ad.
“Local means that it is made by our neighbors,” said Hanley. “It’s made here, it’s brewed here and it’s what I would like to drink, and it’s what I like to sell too.”
The release of the Counter Weight ad is taking place this week as the craft brewery celebrates its one-year anniversary of Headway IPA cans hitting restaurants and bars across the state, according to Instagram and Twitter.
“Bringing Eli’s and Counterweight together is what local business is all about,” said Iosifidis.
Two weeks ago, the Eli’s Craft Beer Project kicked-off with hundreds of folks attending a tap takeover event at Eli’s Orange featuring brewers and staff from several local breweries, including Two Roads Brewing Co., Black Hog Brewing Co., No Worries Brewing Co. and Brewport Brewing Co.
“Following a successful launch, we’re looking forward to continuing the Eli’s Craft Beer Project, aimed at highlighting a craft beer industry that has more than a $700 million impact on our local economy annually,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, general manager at Eli’s Tavern and Eli’s Orange.
Another reason for highlighting the ad this week is because, in the Northeast, the most robust beer sales took place between March 14-20 last year, averaging 10 percent higher than the remainder of 2017, according to Food and Wine Magazine. And, according to Upserve, beer sales historically peak on March 15, which sits directly in between March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day.