At the moment it’s merely a dream but one day I hope to get a freshly poured, local craft beer at the footy.
The current beer offering at stadiums is pitiful. Even at so called higher class places such as racecourses you’re limited to James Squire and James Boags. While in the plushest corporate banqueting suites your best option is a Crowny.
It feels like there’s a lot of room for improvement.
An Australian Tailgating Culture
In America, there’s a tradition of tailgating. Before games, particularly in the NFL, fans will gather in car parks and share a few bottles or tinnies from the back of their cars.
Once upon a time, this would have been the tasteless, self-proclaimed “king of beers”, Budweiser. These days, you’re likely to see Dogfish Head, Sixpoint or New Belgium in equal quantities.
Increasingly, you’ll see breweries that, like sports teams, reflect the local identity.
Imagine pulling up near Moore Park, letting down the back of your ute (not that I drive one) and getting your mates around with a few Young Henrys tinnies, or a case of something sessionable.
I can picture a brewery like Stone & Wood pouring beers from one of their fancy jeeps or camper vans. What a great marketing opportunity for them. If only that opportunity existed.
Is it ever going to happen? First a bit more trust in our ability to drink responsibly in public is needed. Then a tailgating culture might develop.
Craft Beer in Sports Venues
But can’t we have good beer in the stadiums or venues themselves? Well, Carlton United and Lion have a lot of muscle to flex to ensure it’s their beers that are served. Most of the little guys can’t compete with that.
But again, there’s precedent in America (although admittedly they have a different system of distribution over there).
You may have seen breweries such as Dogfish Head serving beer fresh from the keg using their distinctive tap handles. Okay, Dogfish Head are toward the bigger end of American craft, as are Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas who also have a presence at some stadiums. However, the US has a lot of regional sports venues where they embrace local breweries.
Make it Local
It doesn’t take a giant leap of the imagination to see that people who are passionate about their local sports team might also be passionate about local beer. Especially if it means distinguishing oneself from the opposition.
The two biggest beers in Australia are marketed on that very principle. Just look at the XXXX and VB ads every time State of Origin rolls around.
You only need to look at the craft beer available at baseball stadiums to see that Australia has a long way to go.
As craft grows and demand for good local beer increases, stadiums would be crazy not to tap into this market.
It’s already happened in New Zealand, and it’s awesome!
— Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) October 24, 2015
Sports and Beer: A Match Made in Heaven
Beer and sports go together perfectly. In fact, almost too well. Many craft beer nuts, myself included, will still sink a Carlton (or god forbid a mid-strength XXXX) because that’s all that’s on offer. You just want a beer while watching the footy.
Even at the extortionate prices they charge at stadiums, I’d still be willing to pay more for a decent drop. Maybe one day we’ll have the opportunity.
Where do you stand on getting craft beer into Australian sports stadiums? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.