Restaurant Ties Lockout Length To Free Beer

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On Tuesday at five Beef O'Brady's in Florida and Mississippi, patrons got to drink free beer for an hour, thanks to a special promotion. Turns out that each day of the NFL lockout is worth an extra minute of free suds.

When the promotion started almost a month ago on Day 35, it sounded like it was a good way to get people in the door, but now that it's gone on for two months, Bob Thenelius, who the two of the stores in Mississippi, says getting new customers has kind of run it's course.

"I just look at it as a marketing cost," Thenelius said.

The minutes of free beer begins at 4 p.m. ET every day and today, due to it being the 61st day of the lockout, will extend 61 minutes to 5:01 p.m.

Asked he if he's nervous that it's extending in to typical happy hour time, Thenelius said, "Not yet." Luckily, for Thenelius, the amount of beer — which is always Bud Light (the official beer of the NFL) — hasn't been astronomical.

"Yesterday, we gave away about six free pitchers and luckily there hasn't been anyone coming in just to drink free beer," Thenelius said.

The restaurants looked saved when Judge Susan Nelson denied the owner's request for a stay on her lockout ruling on April 28. Thenelius and the other three restaurants in Florida, actually stopped serving free beer.

But less than two days later, the lockout was on again as the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the league the stay it was asking for.

"I just hope the players and owners know just how good they really got it," Thenelius said.

Beef O'Brady's, a casual sports restaurant, has sponsored a college football bowl game between the Big East Conference and Conference USA since 2009. The promotion was first reported by Nation's Restaurant News, an industry trade publication.

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