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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Budweiser Ousts Old Style Beer At Wrigley Field

A vendor sells an Old Style beer to a fan during a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Aug. 25, 2011. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

A vendor sells an Old Style beer to a fan during a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Aug. 25, 2011. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

There was big news this week for Chicago Cubs fans.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with the Cubs, edging out the beloved Old Style beer at Wrigley Field.

The partnership between the Cubs and Old Style, which is made by Pabst Brewing Company, dated back to the 1950s.

Zach Strauss, owner of Sluggers’ Sports Bar near Wrigley Stadium, describes himself as a “die-hard Cubs fan.”

Strauss thinks it’s a good economic move for the Cubs to partner with Anheuser-Busch.

“Budweiser is a great brand, and for them to be a major part of the Cubs … would complement each other,” Strauss told Here & Now.

On the other hand, Strauss is sad to see Old Style go.

“Old Style beer is one of the finest beverages money can buy,” Strauss said, laughing. “There’s going to be a lot of guys going to the game that for their fathers, their grandfathers would sit down at the ballpark and have a hot dog and an Old Style beer.”

Guest

  • Zach Strauss, owner of Slugger’s Sports Bar, near Wrigley Field.

 

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

Now to Chicago where it is out with the Old Style, in with the Bud. Anheuser-Busch has signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with the Chicago Cubs, edging out the beloved Old Style brand of beer at Wrigley Field.

Zach Strauss is owner of Sluggers Sports Bar near Wrigley. And, Zach, what is your reaction to this news that the Cubs are ending the partnership with Old Style that dates back to 1950?

ZACH STRAUSS: Yeah, it's a shocker. It's unfortunate. There's going to be a lot of guys going to the game. That's their - their fathers, their grandfathers would sit down at the ballpark, can have a hotdog and an Old Style beer. And...

HOBSON: Well, what's so great about Old Style?

STRAUSS: Old Style beer is one of the finest beverages money can buy.

(LAUGHTER)

STRAUSS: The - made in Wisconsin. And it'll still be around. It just won't be as prevalent as it's been.

HOBSON: Now, I assume you're still going to be serving it at your bar.

STRAUSS: Absolutely.

HOBSON: You think you're going to do better business now because it won't be sold across the street of Wrigley?

STRAUSS: Yeah. I think when people come to Wrigleyville, they'll come into Sluggers now especially to get one of those Old Style beers just because that's what you do when you go to a Cubs game.

HOBSON: Now, we should say there is going to be a 650-square-foot Budweiser neon sign over the right field. And, of course, Anheuser-Busch is headquartered in St. Louis; MillerCoors, the rival, headquartered in Chicago. They're not going to be happy about this.

STRAUSS: MillerCoors, I think, is - they're going to be a little upset, but they will survive. Budweiser, they've been around Wrigley Field as much as Old Style over the last 25 or so years, if you remember Harry Caray's beer.

HOBSON: Yeah.

STRAUSS: Harry Caray always talked about Budweiser and drinking this while wearing his big glasses over his face and drooling over it. Around the United States, Budweiser is the largest domestic beer in the U.S. In Chicago for a long time, it was Miller. And actually Budweiser's making a good move. Budweiser is really pushing Miller to the sides.

HOBSON: Well, what do you think of Budweiser?

STRAUSS: I think Budweiser's a great brand, and I think for them to be a major part of the Cubs would really help. They would complement each other, the Cubs and Budweiser.

HOBSON: Zach, do you think that this change, from Old Style to Budweiser, could be the ticket that finally brings the Cubs a World Series victory for the first time in more than a hundred years?

STRAUSS: You know, I hope so. But I hate to say that that's the reason, because I would be really sad - and so would a lot of die-hard Cub fans - to see Old Style not being a part of it. After all these years, I think it would be upsetting to see Old Style left - being left out.

HOBSON: Well, Zach Strauss, owner of Sluggers Sports Bar in Chicago outside Wrigley Field, thanks so much for talking with us.

STRAUSS: All right. Appreciate it. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GO, CUBS, GO")

STEVE GOODMAN: (Singing) They're singing, go, Cubs, go. Go, Cubs, go.

HOBSON: And we leave you, as you can hear, with "Go, Cubs, Go" by Steve Goodman. From NPR and WBUR Boston, I'm Jeremy Hobson.

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:

I'm Meghna Chakrabarti, in for Robin Young. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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