First, their simple invite to the community to share a beer, then the surprise call from country music star Brad Paisley. Millions of reactions, views, and shares later, local men Benjamin Smith and Marcus Ellis have decided to turn the community-building exercise into a weekly happy hour.
“We’re hyped about it, we’re so excited about it,” Ellis said on both his newfound fame and the weekly happy hours. “We just have our arms open to more blessings.”
Every Thursday at happy hour — from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. near the intersection of Clover Street and Jefferson Road, right across from Locust Hill golf club — the guys will open up Smith’s lawn and driveway to anyone who wants to come by and have a drink.
It’s “BYOB” right now, but the friends they say they still have some beer left over from Paisley’s gift, and plus an additional small stash that was given to them by Genesee Brewery. They think it might be enough for one night, but they’ll need more to keep it going.
“We wanted to keep it going,” Smith said. “The demand and the response that we’ve gotten … We just had to nail down a time and a date. There’s a lot of different things going on in everyone’s lives, and we just said … “
“Thirsty Thursdays!” Ellis exclaimed, finishing his friend’s thought.
The friends — showing their true Batman and Robin-esque repartee — say they’re shooting even further than the weekly “Thirsty Thursdays.”
“We’re reinvetning ‘happy hour,” Smith said. “Why not stop at this, instead of going to a bar?”
They even mused about making T-shirts, designing a logo, and of course, creating beer koozies with the message and the logo. They hope that seeing their logo and catchphrase will spark more conversation.
“It’s all a little hush-hush,” Ellis mused slyly. “We still got more stuff cooking up.”
Of course, they haven’t lost the message. It’s a simple, but meaningful gesture to help bring people of different races together in a time of widespread civil unrest, but Smith and Ellis are already there.
“He’s my brother,” Smith said. “Not related by blood, but by heart, mind, soul, and everything else.”
“We’re brothers, ’til death do us part,” Ellis said. “I think we’re married.”