Eater Louisville's guide on where to eat at Louisville Slugger Field received this comment: "Sure you're all luvin up on AtG but why don't you ask them why their beer isn't available in the ball park?"
So like an aspiring Troubleshooter, we asked the brewery's managing member (tee hee, member), Sam Cruz, just that: why isn't Against the Grain's beer available at Louisville Slugger Field's concession stands?
Here's his response. Disclosure: While Cruz was not paid for this article, at his request his response was given a free grammar review. (The bolded text was done so at Eater Louisville's discretion.)
It is in fact available in the park. It's just that it is available on draft in the restaurant located in Louisville Slugger Field complex and not at a kiosk within the stadium. We have chosen to forgo the opportunity to have beer sold in the lone craft beer kiosk of the park for a number of reasons. We believe it reasonable to encourage folks to come into Against the Grain (literally no more than 20 yards away from the craft kiosk) and not only enjoy the beers that we produce, but also enjoy them as we intended them to be served.
·We are more capable of providing the beer in its most unfettered state in-house. Beers that the stadium concessions serve have been subjected to a myriad of conditions by moving through three-tier distribution channels. You see, the stadium concession management must purchase the beer they sell from a distributor, per Kentucky law. So often they will only have access to beers that sit in inventory. Typically for a beer to get into a distributor's inventory, it must be picked up and held for no less than 24 hours before sale. For distributors, it is terribly inefficient to pick up one keg at a time and send it on to retailers, so to operate efficiently, distributors will pick up an inventory of kegs. This means that the kegs will sit in a warehouse (sometimes at less than desirable conditions, with temp swings, subject mishandling, etc.) for an indeterminable amount of time. We feel that it is unnecessary to put our product through that and slight the beer drinker at the park with an inferior product, simply to "have beer in the park."
·Next, we are able to serve the beers to the baseball beer drinker at a more reasonable price. Because beers sold at concession stands travel through the three-tier system, there are several layers of cost built into the end price of the beer. We want to make sure folks are getting AtG beers at a price reasonable for the volume they are getting.
·Next, we can provide fresh beer, from a clean beer line, in the appropriate glassware every single time an AtG beer gets served. While we have limited distribution in Kentucky, it's our belief that beer tastes best at its home. It's because we can serve the beer in the way it was intended. The walk from one's seat to the restaurant is a small concession for great beer.
·Lastly, we simply don't make enough beer to provide the park with enough inventory for it to be worth either of our time. As the AtG concept lends to an ever-changing lineup of beers, Slugger Field cannot purchase enough inventory (we don't have it to sell) to make it efficient to train its staff on the product line or maintain an inventory.
In the end, our brewery was not built on the concept of taking every tap handle in every bar around the city and eventually taking the scoreboard at Slugger. Our products are unique, limited, and exclusive to the amount we produce. I hope this answers the question.
·The Louisville Bats really must hate craft beer to marginalize it this way [Potable Curmudgeon]
·$1 Budweiser Beer Happy Hour Info [Louisville Bats]
[Photos: Courtesy Louisville Bats and Against the Grain]