After growing up in Hopkins, Jack Sussman has moved back at a great time to be an ambassador of sorts for the Twin Cities awesome craft beer and cocktail industry. Sussman runs the happy hour-curation website and app The Thrifty Hipster, and he talks about how he got into the business and what his favorite spots in town are in this week’s Who The Folk?!.
How did you get involved with Thrifty Hipster?
I moved back to Minneapolis in November 2016, I was looking for work, my cousin, Zach Sussman, was meeting with my business partner. He said that I had moved back to town, was well connected, outgoing, and could make things happen. Zach connected us. I have gradually taken things over.
Where did you move back from?
Milwaukee. I went to school at U-W Milwaukee from 2012 to 2016. I went to Hopkins and graduated in 2011. I did a Young Judea course and lived in Israel for a year.
What’s it like to come back here as an adult in the place you grew up in?
It’s awesome being an adult in Minneapolis. I just like that there are so many things to do. I live in the Uptown area. I’m in walking distance to my favorite bars and happening things. Especially with my job, it’s great being an adult here and indulging in different things.
What’s the best part of your job?
There’s a lot of cool things to it. Personally, I like working from home and having meetings in bars, breweries and distilleries. It’s cool to have a product out there that a lot of people know about and use to save money when they go out and are looking for the best happy hour deals. We sponsor a lot of block parties and put on a lot of block parties and happy hours. It’s a good reason to go out and network, and talk with people at these events because they are interested with what we do.
Is Thrifty Hipster in other cities?
It’s the world’s first happy hour search engine. It’s primarily dominated here, but it’s also in Columbus, Ohio and Orange County, Calif. We have the biggest following in Minneapolis. There’s over 30,000 downloads of the app and thousands go to the app and website each day looking to go out to go to happy hour.
How is it profitable?
The app is free but it’s an advertising platform. The bars and restaurants pay us a monthly rate. We’re the most targeted platform in the city. People go on our app or site looking to go out. On Facebook, there’s so much content; are you going to zone in on a listing or scroll by? Our studies show 94 percent of people who use it go that day. People see your deals when you advertise with us.
What’s your favorite brewery in the Twin Cities?
I’d say Insight is my favorite. It’s the one I’ve been to the most. We’re really tight with them as a company. We’ve done some fun tailgates with the St. Paul Saints and them. But I do like a lot of them around the cities. Our cool side project called Craft Notes, which is a brewery and distillery passport, highlights some of our favorites. I’ve been to a lot of them that are in the book.
How did Craft Notes start?
Through the connections and following that Thrifty Hipster had. We wanted to create something cool for the craft beer and craft drink lovers to use. We wanted to create a passport that’s a little more artsy and educational approach to supporting the best craftsmen and craftswomen. We launched in 2016. They like the education side, knowing what to expect when they get there, and what they recommend to drink. It was a book that was curated for exploration and to support local businesses.
Why have breweries been taking off so much now in the Twin Cities?
The idea of craft in general is a theme of Minnesota. They are taking off around the country, but the ideal of craft beer, craft cocktails and supporting local hits home to a lot of people in Minnesota. You can do a lot with beer and craft distilleries. A lot of the people I talk with all start with a home brew kit, they make beer for their friends. It all starts in someone’s garage or kitchen. They make their flagship beer, then their friends support it, and they try to make something out of it.
What’s your favorite under-the-radar bar?
My favorite is Nightingale. It’s really popular in the neighborhood, they have a nice ambiance, low-key, dim-light vibe, with amazing happy hour and amazing food. It’s a step above a normal restaurant. I go there three or four nights a week. It’s a local, neighborhood favorite, but it’s a perfect date night spot. But I always bring friends there and get them hooked on the chicken wings and the burger. Those are the best things there in my opinion. I go out almost every night. Not to party, but to check in and connect with our clients.
Favorite Jewish holiday?
Passover. My family hosts the seder and I like when it comes together. My mom is awesome with the matzah ball soup and brisket. I’ll be out of town but I’m making sure to get home for the seder on the 31st. The family, the food, the tradition. It’s awesome.
Favorite Jewish food?
Matzah ball soup. In my opinion, my mom makes the best.Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!