In a twist on the usual beer promotions at ballparks, the Florida Fire Frogs (High A; Florida State League) recently found success by offering free beer.
Over the years, specials like Thirsty Thursday have become popular promotions around minor league ballparks. Those events typically use discounted drink specials to lure fans out to the ballpark, but the Fire Frogs took it a step further on Thursday, April 19 with their first free beer promotion.
Fans at Osceola County Stadium were treated to free beer until the Fire Frogs’ opponent–the St. Lucie Mets–scored a run. That meant that the Fire Frogs front office had to put a game plan into place to make the promotion run smoothly, and it ultimately worked out to be a success. More from the Ledger-Enquirer:
The team designated two areas of the park for the promotion’s space and set up several kegerators, which hold about four kegs worth of beer apiece. Fans were IDed then given wristbands, allowing the three people working at each spot to give them the greenlight for one Pabst Blue Ribbon beer to keep the line moving. Fans had the choice of getting a 10-ounce cup or buying a 20-ounce cup, which could be kept and filled for $2 beers once the opponent scored.
The anticipation lingered in the air for [assistant general manager Adam] Whitlow and the other de facto bartenders as the gates opened and they awaited first pitch, which marked the start of the promotion. Once the P.A. announcer explained the setup, it was time for Whitlow and crew to get to work.
The promotion’s length hinged a great deal on Fire Frogs pitcher Joey Wentz, a 20-year-old left-hander the Braves drafted two years ago. A strong effort could mean a lot of cold ones on the house, but as Whitlow explained, those pouring the drinks were more than up for the challenge.
“When we spoke with (Joey), we said, ‘Our goal is to be prepared for having a full game where nobody scores a run,’” Whitlow said. “Of course, it can be stressful because sometimes a no-run game can be two hours, and the same game could be played a week later and it could be a three-hour game. We were battling back and forth and making sure we had enough beer to go around.”
Ultimately, the Mets did not score through five innings. However, they broke out with a three-run top of the sixth and went on to win by a final of 3-2.
As for the promotion, it helped draw an announced crowd of 1,212 fans–reportedly higher than what the Fire Frogs have traditionally drawn on Thursdays–and will make its return during Thursday home games throughout the season. The Fire Frogs’ next Thursday home game is scheduled for May 3.