Brave New Workshop co-owner, John Sweeney, was inspired to create the event after learning about the FINNEGANS Reverse Food Truck and after seeing the inspirational documentary, The Starfish Throwers, by Jesse Roesler. After meeting Minneapolis’ Allan Law, who is featured in the film and has been serving the poor and feeding the hungry on the Twin Cities’ streets since 1967, Sweeney came up with the ‘reinvented happy hour’ idea. Mr. Law hands out more than 650,000 sandwiches each year, every night, on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Many of those he helps are not far from the doors of the BNW’s downtown theatre.
Sweeney presented the idea to friend and FINNEGANS, Inc. CEO and founder, Jacquie Berglund, and to Mr. Law, and they both loved the concept. “I never cease to be amazed by the creativity of the folks at the BNW,” said Berglund. “We are thrilled to be a part of Happy Hour Squared. It is totally mission aligned and it provides our FINNEGANS team of volunteers a hands on way to help alleviate hunger in our community.”
“Happy Hour Squared fits with the purpose of BNW Creative Outreach, our corporate services division, which is to spread the mindset of discovery, and the purpose of our ETC event centre, which is to hold events that inspire innovation and serve the community,” said Sweeney. “Everyone likes to go to happy hour after work and talk about their day. What if in addition to doing that they went to happy hour and did something good for their community? Happy Hour Squared is just that simple.” The first several events have attracted socially minded bar hoppers looking for a fun way to spend a happy hour, members of the downtown after-work crowd, and even companies looking for group service projects for their employees.
So far HH2 is making an impact, with more than 15,000 sandwiches already delivered. The goal is to test the concept locally at the BNW and then pitch it to a world-wide distributor, like Beam Suntory, to see if the idea can spread world-wide, according to Sweeney. “We’d love to see millions of bars around the globe celebrating happy hour while doing a community service project at the same time,” said Sweeney. “It could be making sandwiches like we’re doing at HH2, or assembling care packages or simply accepting donations.”