NEW BRITAIN - U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy stopped in at Averyâ€™s Beverages on Saturday morning during his third annual Walk Across Connecticut.
Murphy began his walk Thursday in Hartford and was going through New Britain and Berlin to Meriden for a town hall-style meeting.
â€śSo far so good,â€ť said Murphy as he arrived at Averyâ€™s. â€śIt was pretty mild yesterday, but it was scorching Thursday.â€ť
Dressed in shorts and a green T-shirt, Murphy said he had stopped to chat with state residents along his route.
â€śI met some pretty fascinating people and I stopped in to visit a lot of small business owners,â€ť he said. â€śWhat I heard from a lot of people is that they are struggling to make ends meet. I spoke to one man who was working two jobs, 60 hours a week and he was still struggling to pay the rent. I also spoke to a New Britain woman who had a brain tumor and who had exhausted her savings paying for medical marijuana because it wasnâ€™t covered under her provider.â€ť
Murphy added that he had also spoken to several people who were â€śvery emotionalâ€ť about the handling of illegal immigrant children at the border.
Murphy said that he decided to stop at Averyâ€™s because he had grown up drinking its soda as a child living in Wethersfield.
Once he stepped inside, he was greeted by General Manager Rob Metz, who showed Murphy that he had made soda bottles with â€śWalk Across Connecticutâ€ť labels.
â€śI feel like Iâ€™ve finally made it,â€ť Murphy joked. â€śI donâ€™t know if it can get any better than having your face on a soda bottle.â€ť
Metz showed Murphy how the soda was bottled on an assembly line machine built in the 1950s. He explained that Averyâ€™s make between 15 and 50 crates of soda at a time, which takes a half-hour to two hours. The bottles are then distributed all over the country.
â€śWeâ€™ve seen steady growth of about 10 to 15 percent a year,â€ť said Metz. â€śOur biggest distributors are Stew Leonardâ€™s in Newington and Gnazzoâ€™s in Plainville.â€ť
Murphy said that Averyâ€™s, founded in 1904, is benefiting from the recent uptick in the popularity of craft beverages.
â€śItâ€™s amazing that youâ€™ve survived this long,â€ť he said.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.