Press Clips: Odell Enters MLS; Wrigley Sheds Old Style; NFL Stadiums Embrace Craft

After the U.S. men’s national soccer team defeated Mexico on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, some pundits lauded the enthusiasm of the American crowd. They said that the raucous spirit further validates the development of “the beautiful game” in the U.S.

Another proof of the development? Craft beer has also made its dent in American soccer.

On Monday afternoon, Eric Gorski of The Denver Post reported that Odell Brewing of Fort Collins, Colo., has signed a multi-year agreement with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer (MLS). The deal makes Odell’s 90 Shilling and IPA available at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of the Rapids.

“Odell Brewing Company is a very special Colorado company and widely respected as one of the best craft breweries in the country,” Rapids president Tim Hinchey said in a team release.

Gorski also writes that earlier this summer, the Rapids announced a separate long-term partnership with Budweiser. Rapids spokesman David Lindholm said that Budweiser is the Rapids’ “domestic” beer partner and Odell is the “craft” partner. Lindholm also said that these are separate, non-competing sponsorship categories.

Ask around the craft beer industry and you’re sure to find someone who disagrees with that “non-competing” part. Take the case of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, for example.

Last Friday, Josh Noel and Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs made Anheuser-Busch (A-B) their exclusive beer sponsor in 2014 and beyond. The Cubs also plan to install a 650-square-foot Budweiser sign in the right-field bleachers.

“That’s bad new for Old Style,” Noel and Sullivan write, “which has had an affiliation with the team for more than 60 years, as well as for Wrigleyville rooftop owners opposed to installing a large sign that could obstruct some views.”

A-B spokeswoman Ana Serafin said that it had not yet been determined which brands would be available at the ballpark, or in what quantity, but suggested that the brewery’s “Chicago-influenced beers” would be obvious candidates, according to the article. This means that Chicago-based Goose Island will likely be poured at Wrigley next year. In March, 2011, A-B acquired Goose Island for $38.8 million.

While Wrigley may be losing its hold on craft, at least temporarily, certain NFL stadiums are headed in the opposite direction, according to a list compiled by The Daily Meal, a food and drink content hub. The list, which counted down the seven best NFL stadiums for craft beer, goes as follows:

7. [Tie] M&T Stadium of the Baltimore Ravens and Lucas Oil Stadium of the Indianapolis Colts

6. Lambeau Field of the Green Bay Packers

5. Heinz Field of the Pittsburgh Steelers

4. Bank of America Stadium of the Carolina Panthers

3. Reliant Stadium of the Houston Texans

2. Ford Field of the Detroit Lions

1. CenturyLinkField of the Seattle Seahawks

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