LA CROSSE, WIS — A La Crosse man is now unexpectedly the owner and manager of a longtime 4th Street establishment sheerly through luck.
Benjamin Belknap, 26, tells The La Crosse Times it started like any other Tuesday night.
“I always go out for a night on the town,” Belknap said. “Tuesday is my Friday, technically, so I like to go hard with some work friends. I always end the night at Bodega, but this was crazy!”
Belknap says he traditionally ends the night of imbibing with a wheel spin. This involves spinning a mounted bicycle wheel with a flap between the spokes in the style of Wheel Of Fortune. Each spoke has a number corresponding to a type of beer offered at Bodega.
“Most of the time, people just take one sip, make a face, and then ask their friends to finish it,” bartender Avery Eckenbauer said.
Belknap’s spin landed on number 47, a 1 in 450 chance that no one – not even the former owners – knew about.
“I opened the book to see what shitty IPA I was going to have to serve this goon and a golden ticket fell out,” Eckenbauer said. “It said, ‘Whosoever wins this ticket is the rightful heir of the Bodega Brew Pub, Inc, forthwith’.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” Belknap said. “I was just kind of hoping for one of those Surly porters they had, but for cheap.”
Since he is currently a philosophy major at UW-La Crosse, Belknap is nervous about his ability to run a business, but he says he’s ready for the challenge.
It was technically Bodega’s “Two for Tuesday” deal, so Belknap also won half of Coney Island hot dogs.
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.