The first rule of selling your beer at the Rogers Centre is
that you don’t talk about selling your beer at the Rogers Centre.
Historically, the fan experience at Blue Jays games has sucked.
If you look past your pre-pubescent / adolescent Joe Carter-soaked nostalgia for the Sky Dome, you know it’s true. The stadium is a Toronto monument to the last gasps of ugly, concrete, brutalist architecture and the marvel of — wow! — a moving roof has long since lost its lustre. It was always a little too dark and, when the dome was closed, a little too quiet.
It had all the charm of watching baseball in a shitty shopping mall.
Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. The stadium formerly known as the Sky Dome and the in-game experience there consistently rank among the worst in all of baseball. A 2022 “voice of fan report” analyzed 130,000 fan reviews to rank Major League Baseball stadiums based on Food and Drink, fan experience, family experience, and the facility and found that, overall, the Rogers Centre was the third worst and, in terms, of food and drink it was dead last. Continue reading “We don’t talk about craft beer at the Rogers Centre”
This piece originally appeared in print and online for in the December 2018 edition of The Growler, Ontario’s Beer Guide.
As a paying customer in a bar, you might think that the beer on tap is chosen to suit your tastes. It feels like a safe assumption that not only the food but also the beer pouring from the gleaming row of taps is selected to appease you, in order to make you spend money, return, and maybe even invite friends along.
But it usually isn’t. Those beers are there for different reasons and that bar isn’t actually a really big fan of the 12 very similar lagers that Labatt offers.
The truth is, most bar and restaurant owners treat their draught taps, and often their fridges of bottles and cans too, as not much more than prime real estate, available to the highest bidder. Brewery sales reps come into bars with an arsenal of free shit in order to “influence” their way onto these tap lines. They’re flush with “swag” like t-shirts, patio umbrellas, bar mats and chalkboards. They have budgets to offer keg deals, buy five get one free, for example; and they often simply hand over cash or offer to pay for a bar to install draught lines so that the brewery can make sure their beer is always in that line. There is no loyalty in the hospitality business. A bar manager’s love for a brewery is really only as good as the last rep who walked in the door with free tickets to a Ti-Cats game and a fucking snapback hat. Continue reading “From Graft to Glass”