Blair Meat Market, located in Blair, Nebraska, introduced a unique event called Third Thirsty Thursday. Third Thirsty Thursday (TTT) brings Blair residents together for an unparalleled taste experience that pairs local craft-beer with the Blair Meat Market’s high-quality meats. The event highlights the best local breweries and distilleries and offers attendees a chance to taste before they buy!
Third Thirsty Thursday was born out of Blair Meat Market’s desire to spotlight the selection of local beer and craft distilleries in the area. Owner Kevin Barnhill explained, “TTT came about as we were looking for a way to highlight the selection of local beer and craft distilleries. Our experience has been that the best way to promote products is to allow people to taste before they buy.” The event has already enjoyed significant success, with over 50 people attending the first tasting in March, which showcased the market’s craft distillery products.
One of the essential aspects of Third Thirsty Thursday is its partnership with Keg Creek, a local brewery. Barnhill shared the origin of the collaboration, saying, “We started working with Keg Creek specifically because they wanted a brat to sell in their tasting room. We found that the Brick Red Ale added a maltiness to the brats but was not overpowering on the hops.” The partnership has been fruitful, with the Brick Red Ale beer brats now available in some HyVee stores.
For their part, Keg Creek Brewing, a local craft beer brewery in Glenwood, Iowa, found the perfect collaboration partner in Blair Meat Market for their Third Thirsty Thursday event. The connection between the two businesses began organically – as they share a common appreciation for locally sourced products and supporting independent businesses.
Area Sales Manager Michael Doocy described the story behind their collaboration, “I heard from my friend and the owner of the Chatterbox Brews (Cindy) in Tekamah that the Blair Meat Market was selling Keg Creek. Excited, I went and had the opportunity to check out the place and the relationship began.” He mentioned that the two businesses have a common passion for quality products and cross-promotion.
Keg Creek Brewing’s beers are known for their bold flavors and attention to detail, a perfect match for the high-quality products offered by Blair Meat Market. Doocy noted, “Much like a quality meat, our beers never lack flavor and are given the right amount of time to peak. You cannot rush perfection, and a small business needs consistency to build a reputation.” Both businesses also share a commitment to sourcing their ingredients from Midwest farmers, further strengthening their partnership.
The collaboration for the Third Thirsty Thursday event has not only deepened Keg Creek Brewing’s engagement with the local community but has also reinforced their brand identity. Doocy explained, “We are both river towns, but happen to be on the opposite sides of the state line. People can find beer and meat in many places, but sourcing locally when possible deepens the belief we have in supporting our neighbors.”
Michael adds, “I proudly work for Keg Creek ownership and enjoyed the opportunity to work with Kevin and the Blair Meat Market.”
To create a memorable experience for Third Thirsty Thursday attendees, Blair Meat Market often invites representatives from the featured breweries to speak at the Third Thirsty Thursday Event. Kevin Barnhill believes that customers appreciate hearing the stories behind the products, as the representatives can “express their passion for the product and the process. I think customers really appreciate the story behind the products.”
Barnhill is committed to keeping Third Thirsty Thursday innovative and engaging, with plans to “highlight a different brewery or distillery every month” while also pairing Blair Meat Market products with each sampling. He emphasizes the importance of offering unique, locally-sourced products: “All of our beers are Nebraska or Iowa only. The spirits we bring in all bring something unique. We only bring in spirits from small scale distillers. You will not find any of the ‘big names’ here. We want to carry products you cannot find anywhere else in Blair or Washington County. We believe that you should not have to drive all the way to Omaha to get a good beer or spirit.”
As Third Thirsty Thursday at Blair Meat Market continues to gain popularity, it joins a growing list of tasting events across Nebraska that celebrate local breweries, wineries, and distilleries. In addition to Third Thirsty Thursday, Nebraska hosts a variety of other tasting events, such as the Great Nebraska Beer Fest in Papillion, Toast Nebraska Wine Festival in Gretna, Sample Lincoln in Lincoln, and various events organized by the Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild. These events provide attendees with the opportunity to sample a diverse range of local beverages, enjoy delicious food, and connect with others who share their enthusiasm for craft brews, wines, and spirits.
The success of these events, including Blair Meat Market’s Third Thirsty Thursday, demonstrates the value in supporting local businesses and the unique products they offer. By attending and participating in these tasting events, Nebraskans are not only discovering new flavors but also fostering a sense of community pride and contributing to the growth of the local craft beverage industry. The next Third Thirsty Thursday is April 20, 2023 from 3PM to 6PM a the Blair Meat Market, Blair, Nebraska.