Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Free Beer, Not Here

Well it was some sad news this week when the announcement came that Sea World & Busch Gardens Park Will No Longer Offer Free Beer. This while not unexpected after the InBev takeover, is still dissapointing news.

I was a bit surprised that the free beer was stopped now and not when the parks got new owners. There are a few different reasons for this I've seen hypothizied on the net, the first is that this makes the parks easier to sell and that the new owner when they arrive won't look like the 'bad guy'. Another possible reason I've heard is that after the InBev restructuring the parks had to swallow the cost of beer instead of the brewery devision.

To me this is a much bigger deal at the Sea World parks then the Busch Gardens parks, just because the Busch Gardens parks have so much more to offer. Sea World (Orlando, at least, not sure about the others) had both a hospitality house and a brewmaster club, which amounted to about 4 free beers. Clearly this wasn't enough to get someone smashed, but was a nice relaxing break escaping the summer heat.

I also thought the free beer was a great marketing tool as well, because people would learn all about and taste the exotic beers in the AB catalog. I would always try the wacky ones I've never had before, not the same ol Bud Light I've had a thousand times. I still drink 'Wild Blue' from time to time and wouldn't have known about it without the Brewmaster Club.

While I know a new owner may have no interest in keeping a 'Beer Sampling' attraction, but I don't know why AB-InBev couldn't work something out with the new owner to keep the tasting going. It would give the park an added attraction that people enjoy and have come to expect, and would give AB-InBev the good publicity that they could use and solid marketing. I mean it wouldn't be any different then 'commercials/attractions' found in EPCOT's Innoventions or in the Test Track Post Show.

This week on A Walk In The Park Podcast (Season 3: Episode 50), I pay tribute to the Free Beer Tradition with a fun video (featuring Clint Novak, Will Holder & Myself) from Busch Gardens Europe.


Anonymous said...

It's the sign of the times my friend. Park expenses are getting to the point to where the inflated dollar makes company make moves like this. Sad situation and I say that and I don't even drink beer!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Also mentioned your show in my latest audio podcast: