SBJ/March 24-30, 2014/Facilities

Reds belly up to the craft beer trend with new 85-foot-long bar

The Cincinnati Reds are the latest major league team to cash in on the craft brew craze at sports facilities.

This season, Delaware North Sportservice, their food provider, is opening the new Reds Brewery District, an 85-foot-long bar at Great American Ballpark. The bar, situated on the main concourse halfway between third base and left field, features 24 taps, split equally among local and national microbrewers.

The Reds Brewery District will feature 24 taps and plenty of microbrews.
Photo by: MSA ARCHITECTS
Sportservice paid for the investment, in the low six figures, said Don Dierig, the vendor’s general manager in Cincinnati. Driving the project is the appetite for craft beers locally as well as on a national level, according to Dierig.

Last year, craft brewers accounted for 7.8 percent of the total U.S. beer market, a 1.3 percentage point increase over 2012, according to data released last week by the Brewers Association, a group devoted to craft brewers. Craft beer sales generated $14.3 billion in 2013, representing 20 percent growth over the previous year.

The same trends are taking place in sports (SportsBusiness Journal, Jan. 13-19). In Denver, the Colorado Rockies and Aramark are opening a large craft bar in the upper deck at Coors Field, home to Blue Moon Brewery, a MillerCoors subsidiary.

At the Reds Brewery District, Sportservice plans to sell 16-ounce drafts for $9. Budweiser, the official beer of the Reds, and Bud Light will have taps at the bar, and 24-ounce drafts will cost $9.25.

Premium-seat patrons will have access to those craft beers as well. Those brews will be listed on the suite menus and upon request, attendants will fill 32-ounce growlers at the bar and store them in the suite refrigerators, Dierig said.

Last year, Sportservice had local brewers come to the ballpark on Friday nights of homestands to tap a keg of beer new in their craft portfolio and educate fans on those flavors. The vendor used social media to promote those special events. It was a big hit and will be done again this year at every homestand, Dierig said.

SixteenFifty Creative Intelligence, a San Diego firm, designed the Reds Brewery District.

Opening Day is March 31 at Great American Ballpark.

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