Which mass-produced, foreign-owned lager would you like with that hotdog? If there were truth in marketing, this is what someone would be asked the next time they went to a Toronto Blue Jays game, Canada’s only remaining Major League Baseball team. Lagers seem to be what Aramark Canada, the concession vendor in charge of providing food and beverages to the Rodgers Centre where the Blue Jays play, is only interested in selling. They briefly tried selling Steam Whistle, a Toronto-based company that markets itself as Canada’s Premium Pilsner. How brief? One whole year. But Steam Whistle Brewing Co-founder Greg Taylor was abruptly informed last week that the company would no longer carry his beer at the stadium.
The writer of the article attempted to contact Aramark Canada to find out why this was, but was simply told that they were in the process of reviewing options for this upcoming season and couldn’t comment further. And as it turns out, according to the author, that now leaves Canadian Baseball fans with no craft beer alternatives.
Is this a big deal? Craft beer options are certainly making headway into major league sports venues, much as they are in restaurants and bars. Craft beer fans can find options such as Victory Brewing Company at the Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park and even down at their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida. For years it was even a cheaper offering than the Macros, though that has changed in recent years as demand has become greater. The Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA basketball team based in North Carolina, even offer what they call a “Craft Beer Garden” at their arena. Clearly sports venues are embracing the patrons demand for craft beer.
So why no love of craft beer by the Blue Jays? Beer Advocate lists no less than 30 craft breweries in Toronto alone, so clearly supply and demand is not an issue. It seems rather that this is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy, where poor advertising and information about availability leads to poor sales and leads to Aramark Canada writing off craft beers as a whole.
It may be eight bucks a pop, but at least here in the states when you want to take in a ballgame, you can drown a craft beer while you do it.