Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Picture May Be Worth 1,000 Words, But...

Good beer is in that thing with the Coors Light sign on top. Look left!
Let me finish that title, in the words--and I am going to paraphrase here--of some recent text messages, e-mails and phone calls I have received. Oh, what the heck, let's take it from the top. "A picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn't mean shit when I want a good beer." You see, at Turner Field, there is a beer stand I guess--personally, I haven't seen it--that has a Taco Mac sign above it, and a picture (a pretty lifelike one I guess) of a Taco Mac draft wall. Apparently people have been waiting in that line expecting to see the usual array of beers they see at Taco Mac when they get to the counter. But what they find out is that it is just the same beers that you can find all over the stadium.

So, who has time to sit down and learn all about massive venue concessionaires and the deals and contracts involved in selling products to thousands of captive individuals? No? You don't have time for that? I know, it is boring. And I am sorry. I am sorry that people have been misled, and ultimately let down, that there is not a full-on, living and breathing, 100 tap Taco Mac smack in the middle of Turner Field. But can I let you in on a little secret? I have nothing to do with that kind of stuff. I deal in intoxicating liquids, and the people who make them, sell them and drink them. Taco Mac took over the old Cartoon Network area near the entrance, and we turned it into a place for kids to play around and get all crazy like kids do. The only ones happier about that than the kids are the parents, who can get a little peace and quiet while their kids trample all over each other. It's fun. But folks, the economic realities of stadium concessions--a lot like an airport--are not going anywhere any time soon. And please don't think that I am making light of people getting bent out of shape because they thought a picture of tap handles was real. You see a Taco Mac sign, you see taps, you think great beer is the next logical step. I get that. But please...please realize that we only have some sort of marketing partnership with the Atlanta Braves that allows us to use their logo, and to place our logos inside the park. That's it. We aren't selling anything in there. If you want to better understand that relationship, ask someone who has something to do with it. I am not that important. I do not sit in on meetings with the management of professional sports teams and tell them what kinds of beer to pour in their stadiums. I am flattered that anyone thinks that I have that kind of pull, but I do not. I deal in intoxicating liquids, the men and women who make and sell them, and the wonderful people like you who buy and enjoy them. But wait, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Read on....

From now until June sometime, there is a special beer kiosk right by the Taco Mac Family Zone that is selling SweetWater, Terrapin, Abita, Red Brick, Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams and more. How? I don't know! All I know is that our employees are volunteering to work there, and all of the profits AND TIPS are going to benefit Camp Twin Lakes, which helps out some seriously sick kids. Why am I telling you this? Because clearly people want better beer at The Ted, and I am just trying to help you find it. More information on this quizzical situation can be found by asking someone who has a clue. I, unfortunately, do not have one. Not about this. I am just the messenger. But I get it. You see Taco Mac people selling beer, and you think it is Taco Mac selling beer. Makes sense to me too. If I understood how these types of things work, I would be in marketing. But I don't, and I am not.

On a side note, stadiums and airports are a lot like prisons, except that the people at stadiums and airports have money, and hopefully fewer felonies. (I went to a Raiders game in Oakland recently, and that theory about felonies was strongly tested, let me tell you). You, the attendee, or "inmate", have two choices in dining and drinking at the venue. You can, A.) Take it, or B.) Leave it. In fact, one might call it a "monopoly", and one would be right. Ever wonder why they charge so much for everything? It's because they can. One thing that I am personally very passionate about is good beer in stadiums. Go to the Oakland Coliseum. You can find Sierra Nevada on tap, as well as Lagunitas. No kidding. Mile High? No problem finding Fat Tire on tap there. Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego? Crap. That's all. Yes, in the center of Beer Mecca USA, the stadium's beer selection can be summed up in one word: Yellow. Fed Ex Field (Redskins)? Yellow. The times are changing, but they are changing slowly. Sure the Boston Garden has Sam Adams, and they should. But then you see the exact opposite in other cities. So what are you going to do? Stop going to concerts and sporting events? No. Stop hoping that one day there will be a real Taco Mac at Turner Field? No. Give up on getting world-class draft beer in the airport? Oh, god no. Keep hoping and keep dreaming. That's what I do. Just stop sending me nasty text messages and e-mails because reality failed--yet again!--to make those dreams come true. Thank you. Now go get a good beer at that kiosk, because Camp Twin Lakes is a great cause, and you deserve a great beer when you watch the game. Have a great weekend.

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse
This is the top floor of the brewhouse, with buckets of fresh hops about to go into the kettles.