Sunday, May 05, 2013

Buffalo Bisons, Coca Cola Field, and local craft beer access.

The Louisville Bats skipped town for Kentucky Derby weekend (who wouldn't?) and flew to Buffalo, New York for a series against the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field, which dates to 1988 and a period when the city of Buffalo was considered a contender for a major league baseball club. The stadium was an early design prototype for later ballparks like Camden Yards in Baltimore, and was built to be expandable, from circa 19,000 seats to as many as 40,000.

But architecture isn't our concern. Beer is, and the questions are obvious: Are there craft beer options at Buffalo's home park, and if so, how do they compare with the perennially disappointing macro-mania fixation in Louisville?

My verdict after cursory Internetz research: Thumbs up.

First, the standard disclaimer, to be considered any time one cannot actually be there to see things up close and personal. It pertains to the bastardization of the "craft" concept by multinational, industrial brewers. Absent qualification, it remains likely that "craft" in many PR-speak contexts probably includes beers that are "crafty" (i.e., mockrobrews like Shock Top and zombie crafts such as Goose Island), and not locally-brewed craft beer.

That said, the scene at Coca-Cola Field looks good, even if corporate naming rights suggest otherwise (my guess is no Pepsi at this joint).

It is apparent that the management of the Bisons is trumpeting local choices wherever possible. There is a concessions area called the Consumer's Craft Beer Corner, and Flying Bison Brewing Company beers are accessible at more than one  tiny peanut stand within the turnstiles.

In fact, as with Indianapolis, there's something approximating palpable local pride, not merely heaping stacks of money, which is a refreshing change of pace from the dry, bloodless, bean counter's countenance of the Louisville Bats, which if entirely honest would feature a suited, actuarial Buddy BOT as official mascot.

Amazingly, Buffalo's approach appears to be dedicated to the proposition that mega and micro are not mutually exclusive, surely because Bisons management grasps the existence of demand for craft beer among the customer base -- a statistical certainty that neither the mercenary Bats nor others in Louisville own craft brewing community seem able to bring themselves to do.

Entertaining all the fans who come to a game by offering genuine choice? It may or may not be ideal, but Buffalo appears to be getting it. Have you attended games in Buffalo? Let me know how it works there as we continue to build a case for proper, genuine, locally-brewed craft beer at Louisville Slugger Field.


Coca-Cola Field Food Line-Up Receives All-Star Local Additions

 ... The Bisons have a strong commitment to the great local foods and beverages that can be found throughout Western New York. Bringing in the flavors that so many fans grew up on was a top priority for the team to further enhance the Bisons Baseball Experience at Coca-Cola Field.


Ballpark changes suit everyone’s tastes

... And speaking of Pettibones Grille, it has added the Pub at the Park, which will be open the entire game. The Pub will include nine flat screen televisions, a craft beer cooler and six new draft lines serving Flying Bison.


It’s That Time of the Year Again!

 ... We also know that'll change soon and we'll be enjoying another great spring and summer out here in Western NY! And with that change comes the return of our summer beer, 716 Kolsch and the return of Buffalo Bison's baseball! FBBC is teaming up with the Bisons to bring you an early summer. (You're very welcome...)

We'll roll out the first barrels of Buffalo Kolsch 716 at Coca Cola Field on Thursday, April 4th for the Bison's home opener and the first of many toasts to summer with Buffalo Kolsch 716.



Toledo Mud Hens view locally brewed craft beer as positive enticement. Imagine that.

Columbus Clippers: Locally brewed craft beer is a positive enticement. Imagine that.

Indianapolis Indians, Victory Field and a merciful end to "don't ask, don't tell" in local craft beer access.

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