INDIANAPOLIS — Days before tip-off of the NCAA Tournament, Sun King Brewing Company’s taproom in downtown Indianapolis had both beer and basketball lovers visit.
“Basketball and beer, they go hand-in-hand,” co-owner, Clay Robinson said.
With Big 10 on the TV and ‘Hoops There It Is’ on tap, it is safe to say the business is ready for the big dance.
“It’s really kind of the kick-off for the busy, warmer weather beer drinking season for us as a business,” Robinson said.
A kick-off undoubtedly welcomed after the pandemic cut sales, restricted tap rooms and changed distribution.
“Now with bars and restaurants opening back up, it’s causing us to see some momentum back to our pre-pandemic business-type days,” Robinson said.
Throughout the pandemic, Robinson emphasized health and safety took center court. It is one of the reasons Sun King Brewing joined the ‘Hoosier Hospitality Promise’ months ago.
“We’ll have such a huge influx of people here in Indianapolis that I think it’s actually more important now because of the amount of visitors,” Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch said.
It is a program that started months ago, but state leaders agree it is more important now than ever. The Hoosier Hospitality Promise is a program designed to assure consumers health and safety are top concerns on behalf of businesses.
Businesses joining the program must take steps to ensure the safety of their guests including training staff proper cleaning and sanitization, make sure before reach shift, all staff pass a health check and require staff to wear face masks.
Dozens of businesses across Central Indiana are participating. Those that are participating can also offer discounts to consumers who too make the promise.
“We’re so pleased to have people coming in. It will be a real nice jump-start for our leisure and hospitality business in Central Indiana and as well as around the state to have these visitors coming in, but we have to make sure that everybody stays safe,” Elaine Bedel, secretary & chief executive officer of Indiana Destination Development Corporation, said. “People are getting vaccinated that’s great, but we still run the risk that we can have an outbreak if we aren’t all careful. But if wear our masks and we’re being careful and do the things that we’re supposed to be doing, I think we’ll be just fine."
To unlock the discounts at participating businesses, consumers are encouraged to sign up and take the promise, as well. Once signed up online, consumers will get a ‘promise pass’ sent via email that unlocks discounts at the businesses participating.
“People want to ditch their masks and want to get out and want to get back to normal, but until we get the go-ahead to, stay vigilant and do everything that we can to try and continue to keep things moving in a positive direction,” Robinson said.
The business owner said as spring days and tip-off nears, he is hopeful.
“It’s been a very strange year, but finally after a year, we’re actually starting to see some movement in the right direction,” Robinson said.