Craft beer a big hit at Comerica Park

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
3:25
PM ET
Michigan Craft BeerDelaware North Companies Sportservice Craft beer is quickly becoming the next big thing at ballparks.

Last week, a craft beer stand at Yankee Stadium was criticized for not actually having craft beer. The brands, which included Leinenkugel's and Blue Moon, are in fact owned by MillerCoors and therefore don't technically qualify as craft.

I sympathize with MillerCoors' smaller-batch brands, as I happen to enjoy both Leinenkugel's and Blue Moon and think the outrage caused by their connection to the larger company is a little bit forced.

That being said, as craft beer continues to boom with double-digit increases in sales and volume against the static larger brewers, stadiums and arenas are going to have to step up the options they offer fans.

For a trend-setter, look at what Delaware North Companies Sportservice is doing in Detroit this year at Comerica Park. In right field, they have a craft beer stand that features 26 local brews, 10 on draft, 16 in bottles. You'll pay more, $8.75 for the draft in the 16-ounce cups or $7.75 for the bottles, but the extra buck or two is often part of the trade-up culture we live in. Higher cost, greater value.

"Craft beer is more than a trend," said Bob Thormeier, general manager of Delaware North Companies Sportservice at Comerica Park. "It has become a mainstay. Certainly it will never replace traditional beer, and nor should it. But it gives the consumer variety, and as such, it appeals to a broader demographic."

It requires teams and concessionaires to go the extra mile because true craft brews are certainly more of a challenge than the big boys from a distribution standpoint. But I believe, due to the demand, it will pay off.

Check out the selection of local craft brews that Tigers fans will have this season:

On draft: Bell’s Brewery Oberon, Bell’s Brewery Two-Hearted Ale, New Holland Brewing Full Circle, Founders Brewing Company All Day IPA, Arbor Brewing Company Strawberry Blonde, Atwater Brewery D Light, Atwater Brewery Dirty Blonde, Atwater Brewery Vanilla Java Porter, Arcadia Ales Sky High Rye and Motor City Brewing Works Ghettoblaster.

On bottle: Atwater Cherry Wheat, Atwater Purple Gang Pilsner, Atwater Detroit Pale Ale, Atwater Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale, Bell’s Brewery Third Coast Beer, Bell’s Third Coast Beer, Bell’s Brewery Kalamazoo Stout, Bell’s Brewery Amber Ale, New Holland White Hatter Belgian Style White Pale Ale, New Holland Sundog Amber Ale, New Holland Monkey King Saison Farmhouse Ale, Founders Scotch Style Ale, Founders Porter, Arbor Brewing Company Bollywood Blonde, Arbor Brewing Company Ypsi Gypsy Pale Ale, Arcadia Ales Whitsun Wheat Ale and Arcadia Ales Angler’s Ale.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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