How Much Would You Pay for a Craft Beer at a Ballgame?

surly brewing & minnesota twins

That’s the question. Apparently there’s a big hullabaloo about it in Twins Nation (thanks to for bringing it to my attention). Target Field, the will-be new home of the Minnesota Twins organization will be selling cans of Surly Brewing Co. beers at games for a whopping $10 a pop. I guess the high price point (which I assume is decided upon by the Twins organization and not necessarily Surly themselves) is causing some major drama among the Surly faithful. There’s even a poll (with lengthly follow-up comments) on the Surly Facebook Fan Page. But is it too much?

You sort of have to put it into context. While I’m not familiar with Twins games, I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Fenway Park in Boston where a cup of Coors Light is $8. If I was willing to spend that much to drink crappy beer at a ballgame — I’m not — I would happily fork over an additional $2 to drink something better. However, I have to wonder how many craft beer fans really go to major league games. And of them, are there enough willing to spend $10 to make selling Surly cans worth the Twins’ while?

I do know that the Portland Sea Dogs (the AA affiliate of the Red Sox who play their home games here in Portland) feature a “microbrew tent” at every game with many of the local craft brews, including Shipyard, Gritty’s, etc. The cups of those beers go for a reasonable $6 (I believe); only a dollar more than Bud. And the line for the “Microbrew Tent” is always 20 people deep at every game.  I would venture to bet that the Sea Dogs sell more $6 Shipyards at a home game (note that there are not more than 7,000ish people at every game, max. Most of whom are under 21) than the Twins will sell $10 Surly cans.

And Adam at raises a good point,

The problem with offering beer at a venue like a ballpark is that the venue can get away with price gouging which, in turn, can hurt the brand.

By the looks of the comments on the Facebook page, Surly fans are pretty, well, surly over the price point. What do you think? Would you pay $10 for a good (and believe me, if you haven’t had anything from Surly, it’s pretty damn good) beer at a ballgame? Worth it? And how much is too much?

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  1. I like Fenway trips as much as any Mainer but I just can’t pony up for the $8 Budweisers. I’m just too cheap, I guess. I’d rather have a beer on the Downeaster on the way down, where Shipyards are something like $4.00 despite the even-more-captive audience. For $10 I don’t really care what it is, I’m not buying.

  2. Seeing a single can of beer for $10 does elicit some sticker shock, but it is a 16oz serving as opposed to 12oz of macro lager for only a dollar or two less. If I wanted a beer and those were my two choices there is no choice, I would gladly buy a $10 can of Furious.

  3. When I poured beer at Hadlock Stadium a few years ago, the Sea Dogs were selling domestics for $4 and microbrews for $4.50. Not a bad price considering the bars charge pretty much the same price.

  4. The Harrisburg Senators (AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals) and the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-2) sell $6 Troegs drafts at games (brewed in Harrisburg). This is a pretty decent price with only minor inflation for the games. I believe the crappy beers are $4, and the increase in price is well worth it.

  5. I respect the fact that ball games are carrying good beer, but it’s insane that they are punishing anyone that wants it by making them pay 10 bucks a can. Part of the problem is consumers however, as I’m sure there are probably enough people paying that much to make it profitable for them to keep selling it that high.

  6. Never would I ever, but I am more inclined to sit at home with a six pack of a craft brew while watching the game on TV than I am to going to the ball game anyway.

  7. I think they’ll sell a crap load and they’ll increase their market share. People have a different mentality at a professional sporting event. They don’t shirk from paying high prices…look at how much a ticket costs. The food and beer costs don’t cross most people’s minds. I pay too much for bad/good beer at sporting events because I’ve usually made a day out of it and been carousing for a few hours before the game.

  8. How about $1 more than the domestic swill they currently offer? I never drink at sporting events because the beer is A) too expensive and B) adjuncted macro lagers are not my pint of ale.

  9. I think it’s time to Just Say No to ballpark prices. The only way I figure I’ll get my point across to these high prices is to just not purchase from them. They have a “captive” audience and feel they can charge outrageous prices. Well, it’s a free country but no thanks to $10 a glass beer. I’ll wait until I’m home and have a $1.50 bottle of my favorite craft beer that I bought at my local store. Gotta take a stand somewhere.

  10. This is a great question, but I don’t think I’d buy it. A ball game just isn’t the place to enjoy a beer like that — I doubt I’d even have a glass to pour it into. I have no problem spending $10 on a can/bottle of beer, but I don’t want to contribute to price gouging, and if I do spend that much I want to enjoy what’s in that can/bottle to the fullest extent possible. I don’t think that would happen at a sporting event.

  11. Know what’s worse than paying $10 dollars for a beer?? Paying $10 for a beer that is only legally allowed to have 3.2% alcohol in it(also known as low-point beer)! This also goes for beer bought in all convenience stores and supermarkets in the state of Minnesota. Booooo Twins, go Brewers! 😉

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