The big three American breweries continue to have a stranglehold on the sporting and cultural venues we all enjoy visiting. Thankfully, one of the great things about tailgating is that you can have any beer you want; you just have to bring it. The big three haven't locked up exclusive rights to parking lots.
Though I'm sure they have tried.
Just a year ago, I was lamenting the state of the beer menu at Lucas Oil Stadium. This year, the stadium has taken a step forward. In addition to beer from Ram (which I still haven't found at the stadium), Upland is now served at concession stands near sections 124, 148, 307, 319, 334, 346, and 528, plus in the club seating areas.
More importantly, Upland is now served up in the nose bleed section where I sit! So when I started to get thirsty, I was able to buy an Upland Wheat for $8 (yeah, in the real world, that's pretty damn expensive. But a Bud, Miller, and Coors in the stadium runs $7.50. For 50 cents more, why not upgrade?).
In fact, the stand had two taps of Wheat flowing. I asked Cari Crowe, sales representative for Upland, if we can expect to see other Upland beers in the future. "Right now we wanted to go with our best seller, our Wheat Ale, at the draft kiosks. We're going to see how well it does and then maybe bring in something else eventually. Be sure that there will always be Upland Wheat on tap there."
Additionally, there are five locations with Upland in bottles. I didn't find one (I don't hang out in the lower levels), so I'm not sure what variety of bottled beers they have available. So I'm not getting a Dragonfly in there right now, but maybe in the future. In the meantime, I'll continue enjoying the Wheat.
I'm curious to know if the stadium's concessions contractor plans on bringing in more craft beer. The stand I visited on Sunday had four taps: two had Upland Wheat and two were empty. Could we see another brewery there in the future? Or additional Upland selections? I don't know.
I do know that Lucas Oil Stadium took a step forward today in improving their beer selection. But compared to the NFL's other stadiums, they're still not in the Wild Card hunt.