Published October 23, 2013
Nine local and regional craft brewers will share 18 taps at the Beer Garden
The Bobcats are capitalizing on the rapid growth of microbreweries in North Carolina by opening the new Craft Beer Garden this season at Time Warner Cable Arena. Nine local and regional craft brewers will share 18 taps at a themed destination in the arena’s upper deck. The new space, a $75,000 investment paid for by the Bobcats, replaces the old Flight Deck bar at the eight-year-old facility. The redevelopment is tied to three-year sponsorships the brewers signed with the Bobcats, with a total value in the low to mid six figures annually, said team Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Pete Guelli. As part of the deal, the brewers receive digital sign exposure in the arena, hospitality and experiential marketing tied to local brewery events. Dandelion Market, a Charlotte pub, is the destination’s presenting sponsor and its deal is included in the sponsorship’s overall value, Guelli said. In '12, the state of North Carolina had 70 craft breweries producing about 160,000 barrels, ranking among the nation’s top 10 in that beer category. As a result, the Bobcats recognized craft beer is a “hot growth topic” statewide and the Craft Beer Garden helps the team improve the fan experience by providing higher quality beers and strengthens the team’s beer category with a greater selection, he said. The nine brewers showcasing their products are Duck Rabbit and Mother Earth (Raleigh), Foothills (Winston-Salem), Highland (Asheville), Natty Greene’s (Greensboro) and Heist, NoDa, Olde Mecklenburg, Triple C (Charlotte). All those beers will be served in the arena’s lower level as well. Draft beer prices are $8 and $10. The Crafty Beer Guys, a Charlotte firm, designed the space with tables, chairs and televisions to watch the game. Bobcats VP/Marketing Partnerships Dave Beck spearheaded the deal. The Craft Beer Garden opens Nov. 1 for the Bobcats’ regular-season opener against the Cavaliers. The renovation is the first of several upgrades the team is developing as part of its re-launch of the Hornets’ brand for the '14-15 season, Guelli said.