Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie…and really good beer? Sometimes, yes.
Beer at the ballpark is nearly as old as the game itself as breweries were often primary team sponsors of teams, ballparks and promotions…none more famous than Eddie Gaedel, of course. Even now, two team stadiums are named after beer companies (Busch & Miller).
Slowly, craft beer is (thankfully) making it’s way into major league ballparks, as evidenced by this handy guide of league stadiums. To be certain, there’s still a long way to go, as the stadium owners and managers are bringing in “exotic” selections kicking and screaming. Some lack variety entirely.
I once worked for a craft brewer who made the effort to get their products placed in a major league stadium back in the late 90’s with the assistance of their distributor – who also handled the industrial beer that was readily served. It was a ruthless game. The ballpark management basically demanded that the product be sold well below standard pricing – to the point where it was no longer a money making proposition. The brewery went along for “marketing purposes” for a couple years, before they pulled out.
Of course, some ballparks make a pretty lame effort to widen their beer selections. They use “pseudo-craft” beers, like Blue Moon (Coors), Shock Top (Budweiser) or Leines (Miller), or they charge outrageous prices (I recently paid $13 for a 16 oz Sierra Nevada at an NFL stadium) for the privilege of “choice.”
I’d venture a guess that consumer demand is behind a few of these more recent placements, as more folks ask for local or craft choices. Hopefully, fans will continue to do so as the profit driven corporations behind much of these product decisions need to hear from fans who really would prefer a decent beer with their ballgame.