Sporting venues around the country have been beefing up their craft beer programs in recent years and now Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, is teaming up with one of the city’s most well-known breweries.
Chicago’s Revolution Brewing has inked a multi-year deal with the White Sox for increased exposure throughout the ballpark as part of what Donn Bichsel, the brewery’s director of sales, described as an opportunity the company couldn’t pass up.
“We are creating a VIP experience for the everyman,” he told Brewbound. “We create beer for everybody and this is going to give everyone who has a ticket to the ballpark a chance to come experience the club level feel without paying club level prices.”
As part of the two-year partnership, which includes a two-year extension option, Revolution will receive naming rights to a recently remodeled and relocated liquid center called the “Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap Room.”
The new taproom, once a seldom-used private event space, will have space for 250 people, Bichsel said. An outdoor area can also accommodate an additional 60 fans.
In addition to pouring a variety of its core and specialty beers through eight of the 10 draft lines in the new taproom, Revolution will also have its brand on display throughout the stadium and increase its tap handle count to 38.
“We will have a dominant craft position,” Bichsel said, noting that the company shied away from a multi-million dollar deal that would have made it the exclusive craft beer inside the stadium.
“The White Sox have been very progressive about opening up their ‘Craft Kave’ to local brewers,” he said. “We didn’t want to be exclusive and take that away from Chicago.”
Revolution is the latest craft brewery to score a sporting venue partnership. Last December, Boston Beer Company announced that it had inked an eight-year deal for its Samuel Adams brand to become the official beer of the Boston Red Sox.
That deal gave Boston Beer ownership of a right field sponsor sign that had previously belonged to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser brand, as well as the ability to use the Red Sox logo in its marketing.
Other craft breweries, including Boulevard Brewing and Denmark-based Mikkeller, have made inroads in Kansas City and New York, respectively.
Last February, Boulevard struck a five-year deal to become the official craft beer of the Kansas City Royals. Mikkeller, meanwhile, will open its 10,000 sq. ft. brewery and taproom inside of Citi Field on March 25.
Despite an extensive investment, Bichsel believes Revolution’s partnership with the White Sox will give the company a chance to “plant a flag with a Chicago institution.”
“We definitely had to increase our marketing budget for this year, and we are going over our planned spend,” he said. “But when an opportunity like this presented itself, we felt like we couldn’t pass it by.”
Revolution, ranked by the Brewers Association as the 40th largest craft brewery in the U.S., produced approximately 82,000 barrels, Bichsel shared. Through March 21, company-wide sales are up 17 percent, he added.
“We are looking good and we still have a lot of running room left,” Bichsel said.
Revolution products are currently distributed in eight states – Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York – and the company does not plan to expand into any new markets in 2018.
A press release with additional information is below.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX AND REVOLUTION BREWING ANNOUNCE NAMING RIGHTS PARTNERSHIP FOR SOCIAL LOUNGE
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox have announced a multiyear marketing partnership with Revolution Brewing, Illinois’ largest independently owned brewery. Expanding upon the partnership last season, the new agreement includes naming rights for the remodeled and relocated social media lounge, the Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap Room. The new space will feature additional interactive elements and social media-driven activities in a larger location on the 200 level at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap Room will feature #SoxSelfie photo opportunity spots, a space for fans to redeem check-in offers through the MLB Ballpark app and various interactive activities throughout the season. In addition, a variety of Revolution Brewing offerings will be provided in the room, along with a rotating food menu from Levy Restaurants. Fans of all ages can access the area from stairs located above Section 157.
“Revolution Brewing is an established hometown brewery that shares our passion for connecting with fans who love White Sox baseball in new ways,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We are thrilled to grow our relationship with a brand that has such a strong presence in Chicago and among our fans.”
“Revolution Brewing is excited to expand our partnership with the Chicago White Sox as Jerry Reinsdorf and his team are committed to bringing another championship to our great city,” said Donn Bichsel, Revolution Brewing’s director of sales and marketing. “Their existing partnerships with other Chicago-based companies fit within the genuine, authentic and real relationships that we look to augment. The #SoxSocial Tap Room will provide a premium experience available for everyone at Guaranteed Rate Field.”
Revolution Brewing is based in Chicago and produces dozens of different beer styles each season. The brewery was recognized as the “Best Brewery Tour” and “Best Brewpub” by “Chicago Reader” in 2017. For more information about Revolution Brewing, please visit revbrew.com.