Beer Battle: New Mosaic Stadium should sling local suds

It’s a hot topic, or perhaps a refreshing cool one in Regina: what kind of beer will be able to find at New Mosaic Stadium when the Riders swing the doors open for their first pre-season game in just a few months?

We know for sure that the majority of the beer in the building will be provided by the MolsonCoors company after they agreed to become one of the founding partners, a series of local and national sponsors that are helping fund the Riders portion of their tab for the new stadium. So, that means we’ll see plenty of Coors Light, Molson Canadian and of course, Pilsner.

Here’s the thing: a growing number of people don’t always enjoy drinking mass produced beer. Every year the craft beer industry has been growing and that’s especially true in Saskatchewan where some 13 breweries have popped up everywhere across the province with more to come. These breweries offer up something that the big guys don’t, their flavours are different and they aren’t afraid to try new things. They also directly improve local economies by hiring people to brew, serve and deliver their suds. Last time I checked, none of the major brewers currently have a facility in Saskatchewan. In fairness, yes, many local pubs and bars benefit from being able to serve their products and they do employee sales people across the province.

On Monday, Regina city council met to discuss the situation with many of the local brewers in attendance asking for a fair shot at serving. The details seem murky at this point, but the good news is the city seems committed to doing what they can to get brewers like Rebellion, Black Bridge and 9 Mile into the new stadium.

There’s certainly some reasonable hurdles that local brewers will have to overcome in order to get into the stadium. Like paying the proper fees and meeting minimum levels of product available for sale. Some simply won’t have the capacity to meet the demands of stocking such a facility but there are some that can.

Under their agreement, MolsonCoors certainly deserves to be there and deserves to be the major provider of beer. They’ve paid for that right. However, there’s been plenty of examples over the years of teams and facilities finding ways to provide more choice without hurting their major sponsors. Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, is renowned for their selection of beer. The Kansas City Royals have signed an official craft beer sponsor. This can be done.

If this building is being touted as Saskatchewan’s crown jewel, and it’s mostly been funded by us the taxpayer, then local breweries and other business (who have paid those taxes) should have some kind of presence at New Mosaic. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but in today’s world HD TV and home theatres, facilities need to offer up more than just the same old products and experiences to get people through the gates. Offering up different and unique beers is a part of that.

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