September 14, 2018 7:09 pm

‘I never thought this was going to happen.’: craft beer on sale at Mosaic Stadium

Beer and Roughrider games go together so well there’s a section at Mosaic Stadium named after Pilsner. Now, there’s a new brew on the block; Craft Beer Corner. David Baxter has more.

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Beer is a staple at Mosaic Stadium, especially during Saskatchewan Roughrider games. The two are so intertwined that there’s an entire section named after Pilsner. Now there’s a new beer on tap during the final regular season games, Craft Beer Corner.

“We’re in the midst of a four game test, so Saskatchewan craft beer is being made available during Saskatchewan Roughrider games,” Bushwakker bar manager Grant Frew said.

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Frew is also a member of the Saskatchewan Craft Brewers Association. Last year, a decision was made that craft beer would not be allowed in Mosaic Stadium, due to an exclusive contract with Molson Coors.

However, the group has been working with the Riders, Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL), and other partners over the past year to see if something could be worked out that would satisfy all parties.

READ MORE: Battle for craft brewers looking to sell beer in the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina

What really helped get the ball was when Frew and Roughriders CEO Craig Reynolds has down to discuss the situation.

“If Craig was going to tell me there was simply no opportunity for Saskatchewan craft beer to be in Mosaic Stadium I was perfectly willing to accept that answer and shake hands and go our separate ways, but much to my surprise he was very enthusiastic about bringing the craft beer into Mosaic Stadium,” Frew said.

Now, there are six Saskatchewan-based breweries serving suds in the corner: Rebellion, District, and Pile O’Bones brewing from Regina; Churchill Brewing and Prairie Sun out of Saskatoon; and Swift Current’s Black Bridge Brewing.

Three of the breweries will have their beers on sale per game and the order was decided by a lottery system. Rebellion, Churchill and Prairie Sun were on sale during the Labour Day Classic and the upcoming Oct. 8 game. District, Black Bridge and Pile O’Bones will be available on Sept. 15 and Oct. 27.

There will be three specialty Molson Coors cans on sale alongside the local brews, including Granville Island.

Pile O’Bones co-owner Glenn Valgardson is looking forward to bringing their white IPA to the game.

“It’s a big win, it took a long time. If we flashback to a year ago I never thought this was going to happen,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘We had our hopes up’: Sask. craft brewers disappointed their beer won’t be sold at Mosaic Stadium

“For me the visibility of being in a national stadium, like a sporting facility, is just wonderful for our marketing, our brand and just getting our beer to the people that want it,” he said.

Glenn Valgardson says Pile O’Bones Brewing will bring their white IPA to Mosaic Stadium on Sept. 15.

Dave Parsons/Global News

In addition to the added exposure, Valgardson said it’s great to have another venue to sell their product as there is a great demand for craft beer in the Regina area.

This is a trial run, so REAL is monitoring the beer sales to gauge the reception to the new offering. So far they have been very successful. All of the craft beer sold out during the Labour Day Classic – Rebellion’s cans were gone before halftime.

“Assuming this is something that our attendees and guests are interested in we’ll look at what that plan is for next year,” REAL marketing director Paula Kohl said.

Currently, only cans are available at Craft Beer Corner. Installing new draft lines were considered, but it would have cost around $20,000. If the corner becomes a permanent fixture at Rider games, new beer lines haven’t been ruled out.

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