‘Aggressive & laid-back,’ Stony Creek Brewery opens location at Foxwoods
Connecticut’s pair of casino resorts are brimming with new offerings in response to new competition, and a state-born success story has joined the fray to spread its brand and help distinguish Foxwoods from out-of-state destinations.
Stony Creek Brewery, already a huge hit for three years on the water in Branford with its multilevel flagship, has opened in the Fox Theater District at Foxwoods in Mashantucket — right across from a still-hot 2017 addition, Sugar Factory. (Other new Foxwoods elements include outside thrill rides, towering zipline and indoor kart racing track.)
A preview party on the eve of the Aug. 9 opening drew media members, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Stony Creek employees, brewery owning family the Crowleys and Foxwoods officials such as Jason Guyot of resort operations and tribal Chairman Rodney Butler, who is also interim CEO after charismatic deal maker Felix Rappaport died unexpectedly this summer.
Fairfield and New Haven County residents will continue exiting I-95 in Branford for gatherings with friends at Stony Creek, but now they can patronize the Branford beer brand in visits to Foxwoods, too. The new, two-story brewpub doesn’t have an outdoor patio, alas, but it simulates a summer lounge space with Adirondack chairs, a hedge of beach grass at the exterior half-wall and an open-space, no-hostess vibe with the saying “Catch a Break” under the Stony Creek logo on the wall.
Fittingly for a company with a new 7,100-square-foot baby in the East Coast’s biggest casino resort, Stony Creek says it makes “aggressively laid back beer.”
Guyott told the crowd that it was more than two years ago when he met with Stony Creek’s Ed Crowley Sr. about a partnership to do a special brew for the resort (Foxwoods IPA, served at its Foxwoods On Tap event). That led to an idea for a brewpub at Foxwoods, set in the area that was a games arcade next to the Fox Theater.
“One (factor) extremely important to us is partnering with world-class Connecticut businesses that can really take Foxwoods to the next level,” Guyott said, “... and I believe we’ve done that.”
The ground floor features communal seating, high-top tables, lounge chairs and a view into the five-barrel-system brewhouse, where beer will actually be brewed, officials said. And there’s a small food ordering kiosk (evoking food trucks outside the Branford brewery) for appetizers, salads, flatbreads, sandwiches and snacks — developed and produced by Foxwoods’ food and beverage folks.
The second floor is a mixed bag of cozy lounge and attic hangout: a southern California-themed beer and cocktail bar, a small stage for live entertainment and a raised room with table and balcony overlooking the concourse and Fox Theater marquee. There’s also a Pool House room with half-walls, privacy screens and video screen.
In his remarks, Crowley urged people to visit the Mashantucket Pequot Museum at Foxwoods, which he visited with a Stony Creek contingent recently. “We learned so much about the Pequot culture and the trials and tribulations of the tribe over hundreds and hundreds of years. But we had to do that because we had to understand who our partner is, going forward.”
Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Mashantucket. Foxwoods.com/stony-creek/
Crowley noted that Stony Creek beer is already sold in all New England states, in upstate New York and on Long Island. The exposure at the new spot will be great for marketing, he said.
Blumenthal said, “You may wonder what is a United States senator doing at the opening of a brewery. But let me just be blunt: This ... brings together two truly great American institutions (the Pequot tribe and Stony Creek)... they are both about the American dream.” He also touted the museum and said, “Too many people come through this facility without appreciating the leadership of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in making Americans more aware of how much we owe to native American tribal nations like this one who have preserved a heritage and were here before us.”
The senator praised Ed’s wife, Peggy Crowley, for her work and said like the tribe, the new facility “is about overcoming adversity too... because that’s what Stony Creek Brewery has done — starting a business, to go up against the big guys (in the beer market). And believe me... those big guys have played rough and unfair.”
Guyott said the goal of adding Sugar and Stony Creek, part of a four-year upgrade at Foxwoods, was to “open everything up and really change the game of what people experience when they walk through this property.”