The Boston Red Sox are going local with the selection of a new official beer, as leading independent craft brewer Sam Adams will be the new beer partner at Fenway Park, replacing industry giant Budweiser.
This is an unusual move, to be sure, but one that shows how large Boston Beer Company has grown since Jim Koch launched Samuel Adams Boston Lager in 1984, at a time when craft beer was more a vision than a financial reality. (How big? In its last quarterly report, Boston Beer reported revenues of $247 million.) Regional breweries used to be the backbone of MLB marketing efforts — indeed, breweries did more than just sponsor teams, as was the case when the much smaller Miller Brewing actually bought the scoreboard at Milwaukee County Stadium when the Boston Braves moved to town.
But this is Boston, where there’s a pretty fierce civic pride. Sam Adams has been sold at the ballpark for a long time, but this sponsorship takes things to a new level. Yes, a wide variety of beers — including Bud — will be sold at Fenway Park in 2018. But Sam Adams will be the featured player, as well as Boston Beer brands like Boston Lager and Summer Ale. In addition, there will be showcasing of a new national brand, Samuel Adams Sam ’76, a lager ale union billed as a “revolutionary product.” (Get it?) The Budweiser sign above the right-field roof deck will go down and the space will be rebranded as the Sam Deck, while a Sammy’s On Third bar will be found beneath the third-base stands.
“We got our start right here in Boston, and for the past three decades we’ve worked our butts off to stay independent and brew great beer. As the official beer of the Red Sox, we get to celebrate our New England roots with millions of other fans as soon as the season kicks off,” Koch said in a statement.
Photo by Billie Weiss, courtesy of the Boston Red Sox. Samuel Adams Founder Jim Koch, Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy, and Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster.