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Anheuser-Busch sues Major League Baseball

Nov 12, 2010, 2:30 PM EDT

Budweiser baseball

Anheuser-Busch has sued Major League Baseball, claiming that they had an agreement to continue their longstanding sponsorship deal that has AB brands as the official beer in every park but four of ’em. The article doesn’t list the four, but I’m guessing Coors Field and Miller Park are two of them. Maybe Toronto is a third.  My guess for the fourth: Rogue Park in Portland, Oregon, home to the new Portland expansion team, with Craig Calcaterra as their highly-paid P.A. announcer.  Or maybe I dreamed that. (UPDATE: The Blue Jays and the White Sox appear to be the other two, based on the list at the bottom of this press release).

The claim in the lawsuit is that Anheuser-Busch and Major League Baseball reached an agreement to continue the sponsorship, but then MLB reneged, demanding way more money.  Anheuser-Bush claims that baseball is “demanding unreasonable fees to sell Bud in all ballparks.”  My take: they’ve been demanding unreasonable fees to for people to buy it for decades, and AB never complained about that. $8 for a Bud Light? I’m surprised there hasn’t been a class action yet.

Anyway, all of this gives me an opportunity to pass along a factoid that I share whenever Anheuser-Busch comes up.  They were a client of mine years ago, when I was but a baby lawyer.  At my first meeting at the local brewery, the AB guys told me that it was too bad I hadn’t been around just a few years before. Why? Because all of the conference rooms used to have taps built-in to the tables, and executives and others in meetings would drink beer. 9 A.M. meeting? Sure, why not?  Just part of the culture. And this wasn’t just some old 1940s thing. They were doing it into the 90s, they said.

I realize it’s possible that they were pulling my leg on that, but a couple of other people have told me they heard the same thing. Anyone know for sure?  It’s one of those stories that I want so badly to be true.

  1. twinsfn343 - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    they do sell it in Toronto (only god know why), but I dont think its an “offical sponsor” there’s really no signage for it around the park and they sell a lot of other brands

  2. Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    As one of those people who choose to believe what makes me feel best until I know otherwise…. This totally happened and continues to happen till this very day. I recently (last new years) tried this brew by them called Private reserve. Apparently when they first tap a vat of brew they bottle what comes off the bottom first into a wine like bottle. It’s an opaque beer color with floaties, and it tastes like beer flavored wine. It wasn’t a bad flavor. But let me tell you it was STRONG. Strong like bull. 1 bottle of beer/wine plus another normal 12 oz beer had me tossing cookies pretty well. I had no idea it would do that to me and it snuck me. New years and you don’t like champagne? try it.

  3. Utley's Hair - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Can we lobby that they get rid of the dumbass “Thirst Inning?” All those in-game ads just piss me off. Like I really need to hear TMac do the stupid friggin’ NewYork Life “Safe and Secure” spiel every time a guy gets to second. And the “AT&T Call to the Bullpen”—as if they use AT&T for that thing (at least that’s my belief…they may very well use some sort of AT&T mechanics there).

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:42 PM


      • Utley's Hair - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:55 PM

        Can ah git a Hallelujah?!?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:06 PM

      • Utley's Hair - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:11 PM

        Close enough.

        Where can I get this magical brew of which you partook’n’hurled?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:24 PM

        Wow, it was a gift. All I know is it was purchased in Bordentown NJ at the grape vine, and i’m sure you can get it at most places that sell holiday specials, which this is.

        “Brew Masters’ Private Reserve is an exceptionally rich beer that is a symphony of character, featuring a balanced hop aroma with 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Based on the time-honored Budweiser brewmaster holiday tradition of collecting the richest first part of the brew as it is tapped to the brew kettles to celebrate the season, this is the first time it is being made available to the public. “

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:25 PM

        Apparently they usually kept it for themselves. Bastards.

      • Utley's Hair - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:36 PM

        I think Yuengling has some special stuff out once a year or something, but it’s pretty damn expensive.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:41 PM

        Yuengling has special stuff all year round. It’s called Porter… mmmmmm……. it will grow hair on your chest though, fair warning. I never saw a seasonal Yuengling though…. I want it.

      • Utley's Hair - Nov 12, 2010 at 4:53 PM

        Couldn’t find anything on that (yet), but I did find this—

        HELL YEAH!!!!!! :)

  4. Ick McWang - Nov 13, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    hey craig

    i deliver food occasionally to the local A/B office/distribution center. Their main meeting room or whatnot is immaculate, it looks like a sports bar but classier. They have a “bar” set up, imagine you are at the local bar but you control the taps at the counter where you sit, thats what is looked like. I never once saw anyone drinking any time I went there, but it sure seemed the place was set up to have some beers. I can’t say whether the taps were functional, but they looked real

    I never asked if they drank but based on what I saw, I certainly imagine so, probably not at 9 in the morning but perhaps after-5 meetings a few brews are sampled…..

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