Stop Giving Me So Much Beer Damnit!

MusingsSports beer
Stop Giving Me So Much Beer Damnit!

This is not a puritan anti-alcohol screed. Like many sports attenders, I like to have a beer or two while I’m at the game. But two beers now really is four beers, as 24oz cans have become the norm and 12oz cans apparently have receded into the dustbin of history. This is sheer and utter madness.

This mission creep of ever larger containers must stop. I get that stadiums, concerts and airports fall into the captive consumer category, and the surcharges that come along with that kind of economic checkmate are just a fact of life.

But in Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Molson Coors, and Constellation Brands, etc… incessant need to squeeze more profits out of live crowds, they have gone too far. This is ruining the traditional fan experience and I for one am sick of it.

Firstly, you can’t drink the whole beer over the course of the entire game, especially at outdoor games, or else it gets warm and bathroom-smelly.

Second, I have spent many years crafting the perfect strategy for kicking back, drinking a cold one and watching a live game while getting home safe, and it is to have one beer per half and park a decent walk aways from the stadium. This ensures that just like you would at home, you’ve got a nice cold beer to safely sip along with the entire game. The 24oz can ruins that plan as a one hundred percent increase in alcohol intake over the same time period destroys the chemical equations I have spent over a decade carefully balancing out.

For the playoffs, this strategy is especially dangerous for those of us who keep our eyes on the game and drink along with our stress levels.

What the hell do you think happens when you watch your team blow a 20 point second-half lead to choke away its championship defense season? I swear I drank 24 ounces in two game minutes during the third quarter. The only positive thing I can say about the last game of the Denver Nuggets’ season is that all of the collapse took place after beer sales had ended.

That goes doubly for the other end of my live sports weekend from hell with the Colorado Avalanche. Watching a tightly contested win or go home hockey game also elicits the same kind of stress-drinking impulse many of us fanatics are stricken by, and I’m thankful that I had two overtimes to dry out from Molson Coors’ bad influence.

Stop serving me so much beer! This is crazy! Two beers should be two beers! Not four!

I ventured out to the internet in search of an answer that is more complex than the obvious (capitalism, duh). There must be some more interesting explanation for why the cans have doubled in size. You can double the price without giving me more product and I’ll still pay it. Where else am I going to go? Isn’t that the whole point here? Why can’t I buy heavily marked-up 12oz cans of beer anymore?

It’s the rest of the economy where that kind of greedflation isn’t working as well anymore.

Unfortunately, there is not much information, as Big Beer clearly wants to keep their deviant plans under wraps. I found this from Food and Dine’s “resident beer authority” in response to a reader complaining about this same lunacy taking place at concerts, and they could “note only that when it comes to beer, the relationship between venues (of any sort, including sporting and performing), concessionaires and wholesalers is a fascinating interplay, usually aiming at this determination: Exactly how high a price will a captive market bear, with the least cost in labor and related expenses?

Sports fans are as captive of a market as it gets! People who go to concerts socialize and dance and have fun. Sports fans sit and get nervous and yell and chant and sometimes get in fights. The potential for abuse is far higher in the more stationary activity. There’s a reason the Brits don’t let you take it back to your seat.

I asked Paste‘s beer and liquor expert Jim Vorel if he had any tips and he pointed me towards Kate Bernot’s reporting where she highlights “That [19.2oz] packaging size, plus 24oz cans, make up the vast majority of the single-serve beer market, which is the primary driver of beer sales growth in gas stations. Because they’re less expensive than a four- or six-pack and are designed for near-immediate consumption, these size cans fit the bill for shoppers grabbing a beer to drink soon after purchase.”

The influx of 24oz cans at sports and concerts is part of a broader trend, and a “shopper grabbing a beer to drink soon after purchase” is definitionally all sports and concert beer purchasers. It makes sense that it would be offered more and more at sporting events, but it is beyond predatory to only serve 24oz beers, which has been the norm at every single professional sporting event I have attended the last few years.

Charge me more! Give me less! I don’t care, I have to drive home! I like beer, but not this much damnit.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin