Sox, Sam Adams Announce Official Partnership

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Sam Adams is now the official beer of the Red Sox, replacing Budweiser.

Samuel Adams is set to replace longtime sponsor Budweiser as the official beer of the Red Sox, after its brewer, Boston Beer Co., signed an eight-year deal with the team that will last through the 2025 season.
Boston Beer founder and chairman Jim Koch admitted being surprised when the Red Sox reached out to initiate talks earlier this fall. The vast majority of professional sports teams are sponsored by either Budweiser-maker Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors, and Koch said he “didn’t think [Boston Beer] would be able to play in that league.”

But Koch and Red Sox chief executive Sam Kennedy said their talks — which included a Koch-led tour of Boston Beer’s Jamaica Plain brewery and meetings between Sox executives and Boston Beer’s board — were propelled by the idea that both brands had a strong regional identity.
As a result of the deal, sealed earlier this month, Sox fans will notice significant changes to Fenway when they attend (or tune in for) the April 5 home opener.

The giant red Budweiser sign over the right field deck? Done for — it will be torn down and replaced with a equally prominent Sam Adams marquee. The Budweiser Right Field Roof Deck? Try the Sam Deck. Boston Beer will also build an “experiential bar” in the concession area behind the third base line dubbed “Sammy’s on 3rd.”
The partnership doesn’t mean there will be more Sam Adams — or less Bud — on tap inside Fenway. Under alcohol regulations forbidding so-called pay-to-play arrangements, the Sox and Fenway concessionaire Aramark aren’t allowed to take money from one beer brand in exchange for promoting it over others.

In fact, while the changes at Fenway will be the most visible aspect of the new partnership, much of the expected reward for Boston Beer should come from outside the ballpark. The contract allows the brewery to use the Red Sox name and logo in its marketing, including displays in liquor stores and neon signs in bar windows. Boston Beer can also run Sox-related contests that reward winners with a day at the park.

The sides declined to detail the contract’s financial terms. However, Koch said the cost was significant enough that Boston Beer will need to shift some funds away from its traditional advertising budget to pay for it. The brewer’s New England wholesalers may also help pick up the tab.

The Red Sox said they had negotiated with multiple brewers, including Anheuser-Busch, but picked Boston Beer because of the team’s preference for local brands and a strong push by Koch and Boston Beer chief executive Martin Roper.

“We have a strategy of partnering with local companies and brands whenever possible,” Kennedy said. “But Jim and Martin really stepped up and made it clear that they wanted to make a bold statement.”
I know Sam Adams's share of the beer-drinking market has declined with the steep rise in other microbreweries that seem to be opening across the country on a daily basis. Sam now occupies an unenviable place the industry; not big enough to compete with the heavy hitters (Bud, Miller, Coors), but too big and too established to be considered a microbrewery, which devalues its "cred" in an increasingly competitive and trend-driven market. To say nothing of the beer itself: Sam is better than most macrobrewed beer, but it can't touch the quality of the prominent microbrews from just New England alone: Tree House, The Alchemist, Maine Beer Co, Bissell Brothers, etc.

The article mentions the cost of this partnership impacting Sam's traditional advertising budget, I assume enough research was done to justify the expense. It is a high-visibility partnership, it will be interesting to see how sales are affected.

Generally speaking, I'm much happier with the team's official beer sponsor being a local company than some other corporate behemoth.
 
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Snodgrass'Muff

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Can Sam Adams lower the cost of Bud Light to something less than $9.50?

(I haven't been to Fenway since 2012, so it may well be higher than that now)
 

Doc Zero

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The trick—before you start hitting the Buds—is to find the smaller beer booths selling 16oz'ers of Finestkind.
 

TomBrunansky23

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Boston Lager is still an outstanding beer, and the Summer beer is also always good on a hot day. They can get a little whacky with some of the smaller batch stuff.
 

charlieoscar

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Other than the new marquee over the right-field deck and the "experiential" bar in the concessions area behind third base, how much of a gain will this be for Sam Adams because they cannot restrict other beers from being sold at Fenway Park and Budweiser still remains the Official Beer of Major League Baseball? I mean how many Bud drinkers are going to stop drinking that brand just because the Red Sox now have a new official beer? If you like the taste of something do you switch to another brand that doesn't taste as good to you simply because of loyalty to a team?

I was about to start a thread, "The official blank of blank," because I saw an ad in today's Globe for the "Official Replacement Windows of the Boston Red Sox" with the company also touting itself as a "Proud Partner of the Boston Red Sox." I was wondering how this came about: They replaced some windows for the team and it responded by telling the company they could call themselves that but in lieu of the Sam Adams article I wonder if they just bought that right (and why). Every club, and MLB, has an official everything, and they don't always match. I guess that it's just about money.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I like this move, if only to take one small step away from the Budweiser horde. I'm not sure it does much for either the team or the brewery.

I'm also actually skeptical about this sort of cross-branding or partnering (or whatever marketers call this). I get that advertising works subliminally to some extent, but I'm having a hard time thinking of one time when I consciously purchases a product just because it was "the official [blank] of the Boston Red Sox." Maybe I'm unusual, or more price conscious, etc. than the typical consumer, but who cares what connection a window manufacturer or brewery has to the Red Sox? I've never really got it. Seems like a waste of money.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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They do buy those rights and some folks do make purchase decisions based on "The Official" whatever of whatever. Hell, as a kid I know I always asked my mom to get Fenway Franks, and we likely had a loaf or two of Big Yaz Bread around.
 

brs3

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Other than the new marquee over the right-field deck and the "experiential" bar in the concessions area behind third base, how much of a gain will this be for Sam Adams because they cannot restrict other beers from being sold at Fenway Park and Budweiser still remains the Official Beer of Major League Baseball? I mean how many Bud drinkers are going to stop drinking that brand just because the Red Sox now have a new official beer? If you like the taste of something do you switch to another brand that doesn't taste as good to you simply because of loyalty to a team?

I was about to start a thread, "The official blank of blank," because I saw an ad in today's Globe for the "Official Replacement Windows of the Boston Red Sox" with the company also touting itself as a "Proud Partner of the Boston Red Sox." I was wondering how this came about: They replaced some windows for the team and it responded by telling the company they could call themselves that but in lieu of the Sam Adams article I wonder if they just bought that right (and why). Every club, and MLB, has an official everything, and they don't always match. I guess that it's just about money.
The very essence of advertising, exposing Sam Adams to new fans, young fans, non-beer fans. The millions of eyeballs in the park and watching TV as a home run soars high above the Sam Deck. It's not unlike the Coke bottles that used to be on the light towers. The announcers saying 'Manny cranked one off the Coke bottles!' is a marketers dream. It's not really meant for a devoted Bud lover to switch to Sam Adams, but when someone's standing in line at the concessions after walking by 6 different Sam Adams signs along the way and hasn't decided which beer they want..it probably will help a bit. Watching a Sox game in out of market towns will reinforce the Sam Adams/Boston/Red Sox connection.

edit: removed some unintended snark.

I think like any advertising partnership, it's not going to change everyone's drink of choice, but I do think it'll raise the level of awareness that Sam Adams is local to non-locals(as weird as it is to think someone might not realize Sam Adams is connected to Boston), and raise its exposure as a beer on a national scale in general.
 

The Needler

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I like this move, if only to take one small step away from the Budweiser horde. I'm not sure it does much for either the team or the brewery.

I'm also actually skeptical about this sort of cross-branding or partnering (or whatever marketers call this). I get that advertising works subliminally to some extent, but I'm having a hard time thinking of one time when I consciously purchases a product just because it was "the official [blank] of the Boston Red Sox." Maybe I'm unusual, or more price conscious, etc. than the typical consumer, but who cares what connection a window manufacturer or brewery has to the Red Sox? I've never really got it. Seems like a waste of money.
As opposed to buying a beer because of a funny "dilly dilly" commercial? It's advertising. It all seems like a waste of money to most of us, but it's proven effective over a very long time.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Maybe I'm unusual, or more price conscious, etc. than the typical consumer, but who cares what connection a window manufacturer or brewery has to the Red Sox? I've never really got it. Seems like a waste of money.
It depends on what you consider a waste of money. Corporations and businesses like to align themselves with successful entities. It's why Suburu is "the official car of Star Wars" or something stupid like that. Or Johnson Sandpaper is "the official sandpaper of the Boston Celtics". The company doesn't expect you to believe that when Kylo Ren isn't in his TIE Fighter, he's tooling around Tatoine in a Subaru or that Kyrie Iriving is sanding his floors with Johnson Sandpaper. What they want you to think is that if LucasFilms or the Boston Celtics think that their car, sandpaper or whatever is worthwhile, you should too.

It's kind of if A (team or property) likes B (product) and C (you) like A, than C should also like B.

It's more of game respecting game type thing than anything else. The property makes a lot of money by whoring out their name, the product makes some money through a subconscious tie-in and you lose a bit money because Johnson Sandpaper had to jack up their prices on the extra-fine stuff to pay the Celtics for the tie-in.

But that's capitalism for you!
 

shaggydog2000

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Boston Lager is still an outstanding beer, and the Summer beer is also always good on a hot day. They can get a little whacky with some of the smaller batch stuff.
Boston lager and the seasonal are popular mainstream beers with better quality and generally more flavor than the big brands, but without the mass popularity of the big brewers or the uniqueness and flavor of craft beers. Bud and Miller drinkers have been shown to be extremely reluctant to change their beer of choice, and craft beer lovers have little interest in what was considered a step up beer 20 years ago. Sam Adams has been trying to compete in the craft beer marker, but are getting killed because the products just aren't interesting enough. They have the choice to either invest big money into winning drinkers away from the big brewers, or to innovate and create beer that interests the growing craft beer market. They've proven incapable of the second, so it looks like they are concentrating their advertising in one region and trying to win drinkers away from the macrobrews in New England. If they appeal to regional pride, get their name in front of drinkers non-stop, and try to make sure everyone thinks it is a step-up, they might win some more share in the area.
 

garlan5

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I'm from Va and I have no family connections in the area but I know Sullivan's Tire, Bob's furniture, and Jordans furniture. If if moved there and needed tires or furniture I might consider those simply because if they can afford to pay for ads during Red Sox broadcasts then they must be doing something halfway right. It's the subliminal repetitive nature of it.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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...It all seems like a waste of money to most of us, but it's proven effective over a very long time.
Has it? I'm not in marketing so I really don't know, but I think people (even corporations!) do a lot of things based on assumptions that might not be accurate. I assume that getting your product out there and increasing brand recognition are good and important things for a company. Makes sense that you won't sell much of thing X if people don't know about it. So in that sense, people seeing "Sam Adams" every time they watch a Sox game could help with brand recognition.

But I don't know that it actually does or will lead to more sales. What if the Sox stink? Will that leave a sufficiently bad enough taste (sorry) that people won't drink Sam Adams because of it? Companies certainly pull our of sponsorships with entities or individuals when controversies and scandals arise (State of North Carolina, Tiger Woods, etc.).

Anyway, just random thoughts. Not trying to derail the thread here...
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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It depends on what you consider a waste of money. Corporations and businesses like to align themselves with successful entities. It's why Suburu is "the official car of Star Wars" or something stupid like that. Or Johnson Sandpaper is "the official sandpaper of the Boston Celtics". The company doesn't expect you to believe that when Kylo Ren isn't in his TIE Fighter, he's tooling around Tatoine in a Subaru or that Kyrie Iriving is sanding his floors with Johnson Sandpaper. What they want you to think is that if LucasFilms or the Boston Celtics think that their car, sandpaper or whatever is worthwhile, you should too.

...

But that's capitalism for you!
Just to demonstrate that this sort of advertising is perhaps not as effective as hoped, it is Nissan that has the advertising tie-in with Star Wars, not Subaru.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Has it? I'm not in marketing so I really don't know, but I think people (even corporations!) do a lot of things based on assumptions that might not be accurate. I assume that getting your product out there and increasing brand recognition are good and important things for a company. Makes sense that you won't sell much of thing X if people don't know about it. So in that sense, people seeing "Sam Adams" every time they watch a Sox game could help with brand recognition.

But I don't know that it actually does or will lead to more sales. What if the Sox stink? Will that leave a sufficiently bad enough taste (sorry) that people won't drink Sam Adams because of it? Companies certainly pull our of sponsorships with entities or individuals when controversies and scandals arise (State of North Carolina, Tiger Woods, etc.).

Anyway, just random thoughts. Not trying to derail the thread here...
Given the amount of money businesses spend on advertising, you don't think any research exists showing whether or not it's effective to the bottom line? I don't work for an ad agency or a marketing firm, but there's a reason they get paid a ton of money to do what they do.

As far as derailing the thread, I think your questions are very germane to the topic (I'd say it's almost central), so no concerns there.
 

brs3

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Has it? I'm not in marketing so I really don't know, but I think people (even corporations!) do a lot of things based on assumptions that might not be accurate. I assume that getting your product out there and increasing brand recognition are good and important things for a company. Makes sense that you won't sell much of thing X if people don't know about it. So in that sense, people seeing "Sam Adams" every time they watch a Sox game could help with brand recognition.

But I don't know that it actually does or will lead to more sales. What if the Sox stink? Will that leave a sufficiently bad enough taste (sorry) that people won't drink Sam Adams because of it? Companies certainly pull our of sponsorships with entities or individuals when controversies and scandals arise (State of North Carolina, Tiger Woods, etc.).

Anyway, just random thoughts. Not trying to derail the thread here...
If the Red Sox tank for the next 8 years, Sam Adams will probably renegotiate their next contract since they'll be getting less views compared to if the Red Sox were good. That's what they care about, how many people see their product. Fortunately for Sam Adams and the Red Sox, they still manage to have a pretty loyal fanbase even when the team is terrible. Companies pulling out due to controversies isn't really the same as pulling out because a team is bad. Even the Marlins have a special FL brewery bar in their stadium, and they're awful.
 

charlieoscar

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And on a slightly different tangent, have you noticed that some advertisers are including advertisements for other things such as GEICO ads with Helsberg diamonds and several prescription medicine ads saying, see our ad in such-and-such magazine. Not to mention Red Sox broadcasters doing in-inning ads and having them crawl across the bottom of the screen during play. The first pitch is brought to you by "ab." Oh, a hit to right field. a single, no a double, so that will be brought to you by "ef" and the run to first by "gh", and on to second by "ij." The future of baseball.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Just to demonstrate that this sort of advertising is perhaps not as effective as hoped, it is Nissan that has the advertising tie-in with Star Wars, not Subaru.
Shit. That’s right. Point stands. Like Skywalker isn’t driving a Nissan to Tosche Station to get power converters.
 

5dice

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The first pitch is brought to you by "ab." Oh, a hit to right field. a single, no a double, so that will be brought to you by "ef" and the run to first by "gh", and on to second by "ij." The future of baseball.
Sports advertising and marketing continue to evolve--it is what they do and always have and it is driven by money and always will be which means it won't regress. The Celtics have GE logos on their uniforms. It is part of major sports. You should probably get used to it, old fella. Especially since you like those fancy baseball players with the big 'ol salaries.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Sports advertising and marketing continue to evolve--it is what they do and always have and it is driven by money and always will be which means it won't regress. The Celtics have GE logos on their uniforms. It is part of major sports. You should probably get used to it, old fella. Especially since you like those fancy baseball players with the big 'ol salaries.
In that vein, Under Armour will begin a sponsorship deal with MLB in 2020, providing on-field uniforms that include putting the Under Armour logo on the chest of every MLB jersey.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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In that vein, Under Armour will begin a sponsorship deal with MLB in 2020, providing on-field uniforms that include putting the Under Armour logo on the chest of every MLB jersey.
Paul Lukas had this news a few months ago. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this. I don't particularly like UA, I think that they're cheaply made and cheap looking. But I'm not the target demographic for them.

I got used to NewEra logos that were added to the caps last year, so I'm sure I'll get used to the interlocking UA. Manfred did insinuate that the UA logo probably means no corporate logos any time soon--UA doesn't want to share uniform space.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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I don't care about who makes the jerseys, or logo creep onto hats or jersey sleeves, but having it front and center on the chest bugs me. I mean, I hate the Yankees as much as anyone, but this kind of pisses me off:

 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I don't care about who makes the jerseys, or logo creep onto hats or jersey sleeves, but having it front and center on the chest bugs me. I mean, I hate the Yankees as much as anyone, but this kind of pisses me off:
Actually, that does look gross. To clarify, I'm not talking about the interlocking N and Y.

I'm not sure why having it on the sleeve (where the mark has been for decades) isn't okay any more. Strike that, I do know why.
 

dbn

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I've never studied marketing, but I suspect a big part of selling stuff is to create a positive association with your product in the minds of consumers. I'd bet that it's even better if it's a sub-conscious association. Maybe in the future you are looking in the store's beer fridge when you see SA and think, "Hey, they partner with the RS now, I think I'll buy their beer!", or maybe you think "Hmm, that sixer wouldn't cost so much if they weren't paying to have their name all over Fenway; I think I'll get the Busch Lite.", or perhaps don't even remember that they are the official beer of the RS, or you do but don't care at all. However, if some node in your brain stimulates a good feeling because of a subconscious association between your favorite team and SA beer, you're going to be more likely to buy SA.

It probably goes beyond traditional advertising and sponsorships, too. I mean, I love a good cheeseburger, so why would I ever buy one from McDonald's? I'm guessing it's because I had fun climbing the ladder into head of the oversized Mayor McCheese to play with my Happy Meal toy when I was 5.
 

Average Reds

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Has it? I'm not in marketing so I really don't know, but I think people (even corporations!) do a lot of things based on assumptions that might not be accurate. I assume that getting your product out there and increasing brand recognition are good and important things for a company. Makes sense that you won't sell much of thing X if people don't know about it. So in that sense, people seeing "Sam Adams" every time they watch a Sox game could help with brand recognition.
As someone who has worked in marketing for 30 years - 8 of which were in the specialty beer industry (I ran marketing for a specialty importer in the US for 3 years and then became a consultant to a number of different brewers for the next 5) - I'm happy to provide my .02.

To a great extent - even now, after the industry has been turned upside down by the craft brewing explosion - beer industry marketing is psychological marketing. In a macro sense, you need to be able to accurately identify your target (It's shocking how many beer marketers get this critical step wrong) identify the brand attributes that can/are likely to create an alignment with that consumer. Then execute a communications plan that both delivers impressions and communicates brand values in a compelling, memorable fashion. Within this larger construct, strategic alliances (such as an alliance with the Red Sox) can be very effective. But to be clear, an alliance like this is an element within a plan rather than a substitute for an overall marketing plan. I should add that it's very helpful if your product can deliver in terms of being something people like. In my experience, Sam Adams does deliver, so this is a plus.

But I don't know that it actually does or will lead to more sales. What if the Sox stink? Will that leave a sufficiently bad enough taste (sorry) that people won't drink Sam Adams because of it? Companies certainly pull our of sponsorships with entities or individuals when controversies and scandals arise (State of North Carolina, Tiger Woods, etc.).

Anyway, just random thoughts. Not trying to derail the thread here...
For reasons that will bore everyone to tears (so I won't go into them here) I don't see how an alliance with the Sox can hurt Sam Adams in the sense that people will make a conscious decision not to purchase because of the affiliation. However, that's not the same as saying that it's an optimal use of marketing funds. And if the Sox are suddenly awful for the duration of the contract, that's a big miss for Sam Adams in terms of opportunity cost. Because I'm assuming the contract is not cheap, and Sam Adams isn't Budweiser, where a sponsorship like this would be a rounding error.

However, if the Sox continue to be relevant and Boston Beer Company/Sam Adams is able to effectively reinforce their New England roots in a way that is charming and appealing rather than off-putting to non-New Englanders, this will probably be a solid marketing play for them. But there are clearly risks.

I will admit that I'm kind of torn about the entire thing, because I love the Sox, yet have nothing but contempt for Jim Koch on a personal level. (Public forum, so that's all I'll say.)
 

BJBossman

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Boston Lager is still an outstanding beer, and the Summer beer is also always good on a hot day. They can get a little whacky with some of the smaller batch stuff.
I'm a fan of the cherry wheat and the white christmas.

flavorful, but not over the top.
 

tims4wins

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Sam released a new "New England IPA" - described as hazy and juicy. Early reviews are ok. Obviously it won't be on the Treehouse / Trillium level, but hopefully a decent craft option to grab at Fenway.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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My hopes for a Berkshire Brewing Company partnership may be dashed for now, but there's always 2026.

How long has the Bud sign been up there? I remember it (or a made-up variation of it) in just about every baseball video game I've ever played...
 

Spacemans Bong

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They do buy those rights and some folks do make purchase decisions based on "The Official" whatever of whatever. Hell, as a kid I know I always asked my mom to get Fenway Franks, and we likely had a loaf or two of Big Yaz Bread around.
The Giants have had a deal with Anchor Brewing Co. for several years, and have put out some cool baseball-themed stuff to go along with it.

I'm pretty sure I saved a couple of their Giants commemorative boxes after I drank the Anchor Steam inside it.

Sam Adams does something like that, they'll find plenty of buyers for it, even among people whose tastes have graduated beyond Sam Adams.





 

twibnotes

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I’m not happy about this news bc it will make it less likely that a range of craft beers will be available.

(Friend of mine owns a bar and one of the beer reps he works with indicated that this deal will crowd out any legit craft beer options)
 

Ale Xander

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I’m not happy about this news bc it will make it less likely that a range of craft beers will be available.

(Friend of mine owns a bar and one of the beer reps he works with indicated that this deal will crowd out any legit craft beer options)
The solution to this is to visit the new packie with a lot of craft options 1 block from Gate D (across the rear exit from wb/yard house/marshalls) on your way out at much much lower prices and enjoy the beer at home/hotel
 

twibnotes

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The solution to this is to visit the new packie with a lot of craft options 1 block from Gate D (across the rear exit from wb/yard house/marshalls) on your way out at much much lower prices and enjoy the beer at home/hotel
A man should at least be able to drink an All Day IPA or something of that caliber at the ball game, especially considering the escalating prices.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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I’m not happy about this news bc it will make it less likely that a range of craft beers will be available.

(Friend of mine owns a bar and one of the beer reps he works with indicated that this deal will crowd out any legit craft beer options)
Why wouldn't the previous Bud sponsorship have done the same?