By Flint Wheeler
OKAY, so I’ve been told this is a slow time of year for sports. No NBA, Football is barely a whisper, MLB is well still just Baseball (yawn), and Hockey, wait, hockey’s never been popular what am I saying. The point is that everyone is wrong. This article clearly shows the ground breaking news stories that slip under the radar while our bratwursts and backsides are searing under the desert sun.
It’s not “The U.S. wins the World Cup” or “Americans beating the Russians” in Olympic Ice Hockey. It’s far bigger than that.
The Minnesota Twins say Target Field is the first major league ballpark to serve beer from a vending machine.
The self-serve beer station debuted Sunday during the game against the New York Yankees. A second station is expected to be added in time for the All-Star Game next week.
You can pour a little, or you can pour a lot.
The DraftServ is all about options, and the self-serve beer stations are up and running at the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field in preparation for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that the machines are the product of a partnership between Anheuser-Busch and global concessionaire Delaware North, which conspired to create a station where sports fans can pour their own beers.
Jerry Jacobs Jr., a principal of Delaware North, says the DraftServ was designed to give consumers a controlled, hands-on drinking experience.
“It’s a way to engage with the customer and allows the fan to have greater control of what they’re drinking,” Jacobs told Rovell. “There’s obviously some novelty value to this, but it also allows people to pour what they want. If they want half of a cup, that’s all they will pay for.”
The DraftServ will charge fans by the ounce, costing 38 cents per ounce for Budweiser and Bud Light. Shock Top Lemon Shandy and Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale are listed at 40 cents per ounce.
Buying from the station won’t be like operating a vending machine, however. Rovell reports that fans will have to show identification and register for a preloaded card with $10, $20 or $50 worth of beer money on it. Each station will be monitored by an employee tasked with conducting follow-up ID checks on customers that look under 30 and to prevent fans who “appear inebriated” from purchasing beer. The DraftServ allows a customer to use the card to pour up to 48 ounces of beer every 15 minutes.
In addition to the new self-serve stations, Rovell reports that Delaware North will test out some new products during the All-Star Game.
Among the items listed are a lobster corn dog and a “Hangover Burger” with two patties, bacon, American cheese and a fried egg with mayo, ketchup and Sriracha sauce.
While the self-service stations eliminate the need for an employee to pour the beer, it doesn’t mean they aren’t staffed. There is an employee at each station to check IDs to verify that customers are at least 21 years of age. Sales at the self-serve stations will end after the seventh inning, as is the case with regular beer sales at all MLB games.
Most fans at Target Field next weekend will be at the park to see the game’s brightest stars. There’s a good chance, though, that the self-serve beer stations could be almost as popular. Ahhh… America (sigh), hard at work and intuitive as ever. How’s that cure for cancer thing coming along?