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The InBev/Busch Discussion Thread

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Anheuser Busch InBev announced today that the free beer will stop flowing at the end of the month at both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Africa (Tampa). This is sad, though we knew it was coming with the buyout.


This stinks, as it's always my first and last stop at the park.


No word when this will take place at the other Busch Parks.


The article is also in today's http://Orlando Sentinel


No more free beer at SeaWorld or Busch Gardens

posted by Jason Garcia on Jan 5, 2009 12:05:55 PM


Busch Entertainment Corp. is about to end of the longest-standing traditions at its theme parks: Free beer sampling.


The company announced this morning that it will close the popular hospitality houses at all of its SeaWorld and Busch Garden parks beginning this month. The facilities will eventually re-open -- without the beer sampling.


In a written statement, Busch didn't offer an explanation for the move. But it said employees at the hospitality centers will remain with the company.


Busch said the Busch Gardens hospitality house in Tampa will close "briefly" at the end of January and re-open with a new "cafe-style menu." The SeaWorld Orlando hospitality house will close for a longer stretch as of Feb. 1 and will ultimately be converted into a new restaurant.

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^I've merged this topic with the already existing thread discussing the parks and the InBev takeover of Busch.


And boo to no more free beer (even if it is Bud).



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^Yeah, that's a great way to promote your product: "Our beer has 'limited appeal,' even when it's free."


HAHA! So true, so true!


I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but I have been to both BGT and BGE and never even noticed this free beer hospitality tent.


Perhaps if they had a BIG sign that said "free beer" on the front of the tent it would have garnished more popularity? Hell, I would have pulled a George Costanza and bowled over kids and old ladies to get in there if I would have seen a free beer sign!


I love beer, but my giddy anticipation to ride Griffon, Sheikra, Apollo, etc at these parks...I must have simply missed this listed on the park map - fail.


I actually bought a Bud and my partner snapped a pic of me with one in my hand because I normally won't touch the stuff. I will say that it was not bad on a 90 degree humid day in Virginia!


I paid $6 for THIS? Yeah, it was 90 degrees and I love beer...

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^Actually, the Williamsburg Hospitality Center (brewery tour) have been closed for quite some time. The Brewmaster's Clubs were located in the Festhouse in Germany and in Grogan's in Ireland.


The clubs were nice, and I'll miss them. Good places to beat the crowds and heat and sample some free beer, chocolates, strawberries, and cheese.

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Hell, I would have pulled a George Costanza and bowled over kids and old ladies to get in there if I would have seen a free beer sign!



The free beer was always a nice way to relax and take a break from the park. That's too bad they won't be offering it anymore.

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As a former Beer School Instructor and then forces into the Brew Master's Club, it does sadden me. AB used to take care of their employees with beer. No, they didn't and still don't pay very well, but it was really cool to know that you were getting two cases of beer a month. Yes, it was AB beer and not Sam Adams, but sometimes, free beer is free beer and it's just cool to know that you get it.


I think what InBev is doing is killing morale more than it was when the sale was announced and they're killing a quality beer promotion. Back in the Beer School days, we would bring in around 300 people on a slow day and let them sample products. Of course, you had the Bud and Bud Light, but the guests also received four other samples of AB products that they might not have bought, but after trying for free, they might go spend some money on.


In the BrewMaster's Club, it was the same, that was AB III's baby twords the end of his time. He came in several times and watched our shows, shook hands, quizzed us on product knowledge, and shared his knowledge and love of his products with us, so we could do the same with the guests. He was really cool to the BMC employees that he saw were trying to do good for his beers, but not always the same when he saw slackers. I know a ton of people who tried some of the new stuff in the BMC and started buying it. It's a great marketing tool, but it's going away.


I got out three years ago, found a real job with real pay, now I can afford Sam Adams and other good beers. I just hope ABI knows what they're doing, Guest Services, get ready for upset free beer fans this summer!

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The Hospitality House and BrewMaster's Club were staples on my visits to Busch parks. While in the past I would never even bother purchasing a bottle of a AB product, after sampling many different things over the years at the parks I found a few that were actually very tasty and worth picking up a bottle or 6 pack of if I came across them, mostly the seasonals but sometimes their new products or the Michelob line, and then telling other friends and coworkers about the beer and how it was decent. With this change though I'll won't bother purchasing any of their products, saving that money for beers that I know I like, or at least are 90% probable of having flavor, and I doubt I'm the only one. Stupid InBev, must have never heard the phrase "you gotta give to get".


Fortunately I know plenty of other places surrounding the parks to get good beer worth paying for.

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Here is a link to the full article in the Orlando Sentinel today..




One of the highlights of that article..


Overhauling the hospitality centers now ensures that a new buyer won't have to take that step itself -- and incur the wrath of park customers.


"You're just trying to get it into shape where there's minimal disruption for the new owner. There isn't anything [a new buyer is] going to have to close," Niles said. "You're basically taking care of the major disruption right now."


Basically they are trying to make the parks more marketable to a future buyer. I am wondering if the parks will be sold as a package or sold off separately. It is a shame this program is going away, along with the 2 cases of free beer for employees. I have a family member who works for SeaWorld, and I myself get free passes to the parks, but I do not think we are getting them this year. I was going to pick up AP's, but I may do a "wait and see" as who knows what will happen in the next 6mo.

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