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Houston beer bar finds creative way to make money during coronavirus closures

HOUSTON – There's no way that Flying Saucer Manager Josh Justice could have expected that a cup with a picture of Mike Fiers on it could help his business as much as it has.

“Being able to sell this glass has been able to keep the doors open, plain and simple,” Justice said. Roughly eight times a year, the Flying Saucer comes out with a special glass to give out to bar patrons.

Now, there are no in-bar patrons, just beer carry out, but still a giant demand for the themed glasses.

“It was 50% of our business that day,” said Justice of what was supposed to be a rousing March 26 Opening Day for the beer and baseball-themed bar.

Former Astro and former Fiers teammate Evan Gattis even got one.

“He was our last customer last Friday,” said Justice. “We set one aside for him.”

It turned into a controversy, which in turn, helped business for the Flying Saucer. Now, the bar is looking into putting in another order of the glasses -- which were supposed to be a one-day commemoration.

With people not leaving their homes due to coronavirus, sales are tough. Justice estimates beer-to-go sales account for about 10% of the bar’s usual business. He has also been impressed at how Houston’s beer community has pulled together.

"We've always had this rising tides lifts all ships mentality in Houston and in craft beer in general in Houston," said Justice. He added he's seeing some of the bigger breweries helping out smaller local breweries.

Justice says the Flying Saucer will continue to stay open, give out beer-to-go and keep coming up with ways to get more customers.