I feel like FresYes has written enough articles about Sam Hansen that he doesn’t need much of an introduction at this point, so I’ll just throw out some key phrases and let you fill in the blanks:
Sam’s known for creating original and highly successful events based on things he loves, and his latest idea is no different.
Positive Hennergy will take place Thursday, Dec. 7—ArtHop night—at Kocky’s Bar & Grill in downtown Fresno. A collaboration between Sam’s FTK Construction and Kocky’s, Positive Hennergy is an art show and themed menu tribute paying homage to Hennessy, aka the “World’s Finest Cognac.”
This show is not a gimmick. I can verify that Sam’s love for Hennessy is real, and he takes his role as unofficial brand ambassador pretty seriously. Over the summer, I found myself in a stretch vehicle taking a tour of taco spots in the valley and Sam was there. He encouraged me to try some of the Hennessy he’d brought. I’d never had it before, so I gave it a taste. And you know what? I liked it. A lot.
This is basically what Sam does. He convinces you to try something you didn’t know you needed and afterward you’re better for it—Oreo tacos, for example. Or throwing ninja stars. Or Hennessy-flavored gummy bears.
I asked Sam to tell me a little more about Thursday’s event. Here’s what you can expect, in his words.
FresYes: When and how did you fall in love with Hennessy?
Sam Hansen: Like many, I am the product of a generation raised on hiphop music. At age 12 I was singing the lyrics to the Humpty Dance: “I’ll drink up all the Hennessy ya got on your shelf…” Obviously, I wasn’t drinking at that age, but I grew up hearing my favorite rappers make references to Hennessy all the time. I couldn’t afford Henny in my late teens or as a young adult (we stuck to 40 ounces back then). By the time I could afford it, I was 24-25. At that time, a drink called Incredible Hulk was very popular (Hpnotiq and Henny mixed—it turned the blue Hpno green, hence “Incredible Hulk.) For awhile I drank Henny with Sprite, then with apple juice. About two years ago, I cut out the Sprite. When you reach my age, you don’t chase women… let alone your Hennessy.
I read that you’re going to ask everyone who comes to the show at Kocky’s to take a shot of Henny. Is this true?
Yes. In 2013, I went with some coworkers to a bar in north Fresno. I ordered Hennessy. The bartender replied, “We don’t serve that here. We don’t want that type of crowd” … so I left. I promised myself that one day I would throw an event that excluded ‘their crowd’, aka people who do not want to be around people who drink Henny.
Earlier this year, I shared my experience with Michael Smith, the owner of Kocky’s. He responded to my anti-Hennessy story with one of his own. He and a friend walked into a bar in Clovis and before they had even said a word, the bartender looked up at them and said, “We don’t serve Hennessy here.” They were obviously offended and left.
After sharing our stories, Mike and I decided that we needed to have a tribute to Hennessy at Kocky’s. We are calling the event Positive Hennergy because we want only Henny drinkers in attendance. In order to attend, you must purchase and take a shot of Henny at the door. If you don’t like Henny, that’s fine. There are plenty of bars for you in North Fresno and Clovis.
What specially-created food and merch can people expect to see?
We will have Henny Slurpees, Henny Apple Butter Chicken Wings, three different Henny Frescas (Hennchata, Hennmaica, and Hennaloupe), Henny Bears (gummy bears made with Hennessy), Hennessy Cookies, and there will a very limited number of Henny/Apple Juice 40 ounces.
There will also be three different Henny-themed t-shirts, two different hats designs, 12 oz Positive Hennergy logo plastic cups, and Positive Hennergy logo shot glasses.
Aside from numerous taco-themed events, you’ve blessed Fresno with events focused on Oreo cookies, ninjas, and now Hennessy. What other passions of yours can we expect to see represented in 2018?
Hella Ninja part two will more than likely take place at Tioga-Sequoia in January with a release of the Hella Ninja Jasmine Rice Beer in cans this time. In March, we plan to collaborate with Take 3 for our third annual Big Poppas Café/Notorious B.I.G. tribute). I turn 40 in April, so we will have a re-release of the Nickel Nickel Nine 40 ounce at TS and another Art Of The Forty Show. After that, the Grizzlies season will be in full swing. Can’t give away too much there, but the promos will continue with the evolution of fun that you expect from us. Expect to see a tribute to the 30-year anniversary of one of my favorite movies.
And of course, we plan to continue to grow the Positive Hennergy event as well.
Positive Hennergy will take place from 7 to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 at Kocky’s Bar & Grill, 1231 Van Ness Ave, Fresno.