In early February, the Nationals invited full-season ticket plan holders to an offseason “Hot Stove Session” at Nationals Park, during which Nationals chief revenue and marketing officer Valerie Camillo mentioned some of the changes that fans can expect at the ballpark in 2016. Among the biggest changes that attendees tweeted and later wrote about was the team’s new beer partnership with Anheuser-Busch, which Camillo recently discussed in greater detail.
“Anheuser-Busch will be our promotional partner in the park for 2016 and beyond,” said Camillo, who explained that the new partnership — a switch from MillerCoors, the team’s primary beer partner since 2005 — is exclusive from a marketing perspective. In other words, Anheuser-Busch is the only beer company permitted to advertise in Nationals Park, but beers from outside the Anheuser-Busch InBev portfolio will continue to be sold. Yes, that includes the rotating selection of craft beers at Nationals Park’s four District Drafts stands. They’ll be back this season.
“There will be craft beer,” Camillo said. “It’s not going to have an impact on our ability to serve craft beer or local beers.”
Another thing that won’t change at Nationals Park in 2016: beer prices. (The cheapest beer per ounce at Nationals Park was around the MLB average last season.)
Levy Restaurants handles the pour rights for the Nationals and is responsible for determining the allocation of beer at Nationals Park. A Levy Restaurants spokesman said that the beer list for 2016 is still being finalized, but confirmed that MillerCoors products will continue to be sold at Nationals Park.
MillerCoors products were more plentiful than Anheuser-Busch products in previous years, but fans could still purchase Budweiser and Bud Light. MillerCoors also wasn’t the team’s exclusive beer partner; Heineken and Samuel Adams also advertised and had branded bars in the park.
Camillo said that there are several areas in the park that will be re-imagined before opening day with a product from the Anheuser-Busch family:
– One of the more noticeable changes will be to the Beer Pen, the group hospitality area located above the batter’s eye in center field. The space, which is depicted in the rendering above, will be rebranded as the “Swing Big Beer Pen” and feature standing displays that spell out “SWING BIG.” The Miller Lite advertisement on the lower left of the center field scoreboard has also been replaced by a Budweiser ad.
– The Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk located on the mezzanine level beyond the scoreboard will be rebranded as the Budweiser Terrace. Camillo said details of the popular pregame happy hour special at the Scoreboard Walk bar are still being finalized.
– The Red Porch Restaurant in the center field plaza will become the Budweiser Brewhouse.
– The Red Loft will become the Bud Light Loft.
– The Sam Adams Brewhouse located on the main concourse behind Section 111 will be replaced by a Goose Island bar.
– There will be a Shock Top bar.
– A Lime-A-Rita margarita bar will open at the top of the ramp by Section 301.
Co-branded Budweiser/Nationals cans will be available in local stores. Camillo also said that Anheuser-Busch is heavily invested in digital and social media activation at the ballpark, as well as experiential marketing to engage fans. The Budweiser Clydesdales are scheduled to make an appearance on opening day and Budweiser will host at least two ticketed parties at Nationals Park on non-game days, featuring a cookout and local bands.