21 October 2012

Jason rants about beer at the Lucas Oil Stadium

Mr. Irsay,

Let me begin by saying I’m a big fan. A big fan of you. A big fan of the Colts. A big fan of Lucas Oil Stadium. I’ve been a fan since the Mayflower sailed into town. I’ve been a season ticket holder since 1994. I’m a fan of the stadium experience. I do appreciate that you and the Colts are trying to make the stadium experience even better. The line of scrimmage and first down lines are shown on the big screens, just like watching at home. With a smart phone, I can view different camera angles or the Red Zone Network. These are all great touches. But you know what is missing in my stadium experience? My beer fridge.

Now, it should come as no surprise that I want to talk to you about beer. First off, this is Hoosier Beer Geek. Beer is our middle name. Second, if you look at the archives, you will see how I have been critical of the beer selection at Lucas Oil Stadium.

As far as I can tell, beer selection is a matter of business dealings. Obviously, with Bud Light being the official beer or the Colts, they are all over the place. The coolest space in the stadium is named the Bud Light Zone. So obviously, since they pay the big bucks, they get a lot of presence. I get it.

But Coors Light and Miller Lite are also all over the place. My guess is that they aren’t paying for the same package as InBev A-B/Zink. Coors Light and Miller Lite are there because you know that not all fans are Bud/Bud Light fans. That is a concession you are making at the concession stands. So why not provide that concession to the drinkers of Indiana beer?

I know that Upland made some sort of deal to be in the stadium. How many locations? Six… maybe? Last season, there was an Upland stand near my seats in 613. Now, Upland can’t be found anywhere at the 500/600 concourse level. I know that Sun King can be ordered for the suites. But regular guys like me can’t find it anywhere.

I’ve heard an excuse once that because small breweries can’t guarantee enough production to keep their beer on at every game, they are not allowed into the stadium. But a tip on drinkers of Indiana beer: while they may have their favorite beers and breweries, they are also a fan of variety. A change up from one week to the next is not really a bad thing. Variety is appreciated.

So if you really want to make the stadium experience better, add some Indiana beer stands. Pour beers from multiple breweries. There are near 60 breweries in Indiana. I’d love to take you to Tomlinson Tap Room to show you how good it could be. I’ll even buy.

Let me finish by asking you to keep this in mind:

Budweiser… they are produced by St. Louis Rams fans.

Miller…made by a bunch of Cheeseheads.

Coors…while they love Peyton Manning, those brewers love him in a Broncos jersey.

So put some beers brewed by Colts fans in a stadium for Colts fans that are poured into cups by Colts fans for the enjoyment of Colts fans. Do it for the Horseshoe Hopheads!

Go Colts!


  1. It is all about the cash my friend. Craft can't really win here I don't believe when it comes down to how much money is involved in the equation. As a result we see cannibalization of better beer in other venues where the price tag isn't as high.


  2. Last season I was getting beers at that Upland stand you speak of and one game I noticed a guy taking a photo of it. I figured he was an Upland rep and sure enough I asked about it and mentioned nicely that really now $8 for a 12 ounce cup is a bit overpriced for us who after all are trying to help out a local brewer. He revealed that Upland had no control over how it is priced or even presented to the fans at LOS as it was up to the intermediate contractor how it was sold. I can totally believe that as the latter part of the season the Upland keg was either spouting out all foam or not hooked up right at all and nobody was going to fix it as they had bud to sell to folks in line. What LOS needs is to let Indiana brewers in to run their own stands as these craft beers need TLC an not someone who doesn't care about the product. I think your request is misdirected, Irsay only owns the football team. In theory the stadium is owned by the citizens of Indiana. So it should be possible for a motivated state legislator to have enough political clout to influence how the contracts at LOS get divvied out.

    Cant complain too much though the bud lights in the outdoor zone on the other side of South st. only $3 before the game. Sit there and watch the parachutes land and the CSX trains go by and the band was both good and free. If they can do that seems to me Sun King or Upland can set up their own zone outside LOS and sell beer too (at a fair price)

    Then of course the Colts did win today.

  3. I agree, J. It just doesn't seem that difficult.

  4. Nick,

    I understand what you are saying, but even though the building is owned by the State, Irsay has a huge say in its operations. If Irsay said "I want Indiana beer", it would be there.

  5. Than bud would pull their funding. Who will make up that difference. It isn't about beer or the fan experience. It is about money, and dumptrucks full of it.

  6. It is all about the Bud money. Upland didn't stick around because it was relatively expensive for a brewery that size and the return on investment wasn't there. Not enough beer was sold to make up the cost and the marketing wasn't there because the Colts don't care about the local brewery paying to be a minor sponsor. They care about the huge multinational paying 10x as much.

  7. I agree, Jason. It may be hard to change, but it can be done if people speak up. Last year, New Holland's Mad Hatter was available in a bottle by Sect. 613. What is different since then?