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Eat & Drink

Steam Whistle given the boot at the Rogers Centre

Posted by Ben Johnson / March 21, 2014

Steam Whistle Rogers CentreJust short of one year ago, Steam Whistle announced we'd be able to buy their ubiquitous craft pilsner at Toronto Blue Jays' games. Today, two weeks from their home opener, they've announced that the partnership is no more.

On March 18, Steam Whistle Co-Founder Greg Taylor received the news that the Jays organization would not be renewing their deal with Steam Whistle and that the only craft beer that's ever been available at the Rogers Centre was being given the boot after just one season.

For their part, the brewery has responded in a typically classy fashion, noting that they are dissapointed, but proud to have held the distinction of being the first craft beer served at Toronto's MLB games.

"We are very appreciative of the warm welcome we received from fans and hope to continue to be part of their game day celebrations by welcoming the public pre- and post-game at our brewery across the street," Taylor said in an emailed statement.

I first reached out to Aramark Canada, the company that oversees foodservices at the Rogers Centre, in January when I heard rumours that Steam Whistle might be shown the door. At that time, David Freireich, who handles Aramark Communications, sent me the following statement:

"We are currently in the process of reviewing and enhancing our food and beverage menu for the 2014 baseball season. During the offseason, we work closely with our Rogers Centre client and their valued partners to develop a diversified and exciting menu for our fans to enjoy during their visits to Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays pride themselves with their strong partnerships representing brands and services that best reflect Canada's team in MLB."

When I pointed out that, with no Steam Whistle, there would actually be zero beers in the Rogers Centre that are actually made by Canadian-owned companies, I was met with a polite apology that Aramark couldn't offer me any additional information.

The decision is one that clearly shows just how behind the times the Toronto Blue Jays organization is. Before Steam Whistle was sold at games last season, the Rogers Centre was the last ball park in North America to embrace the clear consumer movement toward craft beer. Now that the beer lineup at the Rogers Center has reverted to mass-produced, foreign-owned lagers, the Blue Jays once again own the dubious distinction of being the only team in the majors that doesn't support craft beer.

Sports fans have shown, time and again, that local and craft beer can be successful in sports venues. The Charlotte Bobcats, for example, recently created a Craft Beer Garden at Time Warner Cable Arena in October, pouring nine local brewers. As of just two months into the NBA season, their sales were up 39 per cent over last season's draft beer, wine, and hard liquor sales.

And while it's clearly a travesty that Canadian baseball fans who know and love good beer can't get the same sort of local selection that people in Charlotte watching basketball are currently afforded, the massive "Budweiser" logo that currently adorns the Jays' left field might suggest to fans that there are likely some other factors involved ($) in the Ontario market.

A request for comment from the Toronto Blue Jays was not answered as of this post.

Steam Whistle, meanwhile, clearly wants people to know that even though they've been ousted, they still support the Jays' fans. For the season opener weekend, the good beer folks are planning to have extended hours, big screens to watch the game, a DJ, and food vendors. Full details are available here.

And while I'm not one to abuse the forum that blogTO affords me by inciting beer and baseball fans to protest, I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention that public comments on this news might easily be directed places like the Toronto Blue Jays Official twitter account.

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson

Photo by Sebastian Ip

Discussion

82 Comments

Fedora Man / March 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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IMHO, I would much rather check in to Untappd elsewhere than at Rogers Center. I think that organized sports are for fascists and craft beer has no place in their atmosphere.

Mike replying to a comment from Fedora Man / March 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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LOL. You totally sound like somebody who would wear a fedora.
RayRay / March 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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Who cares, hipsters don't like sports anyway.
Zack / March 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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Anyone who has been to a baseball game at the Rogers Centre knows that the team's goal is creating the worst fan experience in sports. In light of that mission, this decision makes perfect sense.
Zack replying to a comment from Fedora Man / March 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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Are you a real person or is this a high concept comedy act?
oliverpolli / March 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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This article is very bias for Steam Whistle...it seems the author is butt-hurt over their removal. First off, business is business. From what I know (My friend works for the Jays office), they didn't meet the projected sales targets for last season. This may be lack of consumer knowledge or higher price point compared to the other well known brews (Canadian, Corona etc).

That being said, people need to delve more into the whole "Canadian" label put on Canadian companies. Yes, it is Canadian owned, but a lot of funding, sourcing, materials are from outside countries. Only the production, labeling and bottling is done here....just like multiple other 'foreign' beer companies! Whats more important to us; 'Canadian owned' or facilities in Canada? Both helps with employment and brings revenue into the city/province. So stop your complaining about the only craft beer in the Rogers centre.... How many fans are going to go to a game and state, "Yes! I can certainly taste the subtle oak in the aftertaste?"

Lets just focus on winning games and not having overly drunk fans on the TTC. If anything, the Jays should focus on lowering prices or offering more variety in food. Thanks.
Fedora Man replying to a comment from Zack / March 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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I am indeed real and wearing my favourite Indiana Jones replica Fedora today.
jameson / March 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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When beers are regular priced, it's pretty easy to spend a buck or two to buy Steamwhistle (or any craft beer).

But when a single beer is 13 bucks, it's all about what's the cheapest.

It's not like Steamwhistle can complain, they sure do get a lot of exposure to Jays fans...
lister / March 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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I presume sales suck because it's damn impossible to find Steam Whistle there. It's not exactly available side-by-side with the other shitty beers there.

This exchange from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (when demolishers showed up to destroy Arthur's home) sums it up best:

Mr Prosser: But, Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.

Arthur: Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.

Mr Prosser: But the plans were on display…

Arthur: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.

Mr Prosser: That’s the display department.

Arthur: With a torch.

Mr Prosser: The lights had probably gone out.

Arthur: So had the stairs.

Mr Prosser: But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?

Arthur: Yes yes I did. It was on display at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard.
Jason replying to a comment from Fedora Man / March 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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You don't know what Fascism is. LOL!
G. Urbanist / March 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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Beer and Baseball
http://www.ohioacademyofhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2002Grace.pdf

excerpt-

"As the 20th century approached, the selling of beer and alcohol at baseball games became as much of a tradition as the game itself. The combination of the two, further emphasized in ballpark billboard advertising of local beer brands, was seen as a validating male experience."
michael / March 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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Steamwhistle cost licencees $50 + a case - more than many imports/Premium beers
Astin replying to a comment from oliverpolli / March 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm
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Huh?
TJ / March 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm
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I recall Steam Whistle was a premium beer at Jays games last year which meant they were more expensive than the regular beers. At the same time, my friend, who is one of the lovely ladies serving Jays fans beer, told me Steam Whistle didn't sell well at all so this is not a surprise to me. Business is business. Why does it matter if Steam Whistle is at Jays games or not when they don't sell well? Definitely a very biased article.
nippleholic / March 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm
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Most likely the other breweries threw more money at Rogers and Aramark to push out Steam Whistle. This is a company that only cares about the bottom line - the "fan experience" is secondary and trying to bleed every last penny out of the people who still go to games is primary.

I remember when I worked there circa 2008, Paul Beeston sent out a letter to all the staff cancelling all staff holiday parties and blaming the economic crisis.
Rogers then reported $6.3 billion in revenue in 2008.
:facepalm:
Friar Canuck / March 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm
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Good bye apple juice! Now it's time for them to start selling MORE LABATT 50!
Joe replying to a comment from TJ / March 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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Funny I have a friend who also serves beer at jays games and told me that he Steam Whistle sold very well at his stand last year.
Spartacus replying to a comment from oliverpolli / March 21, 2014 at 01:00 pm
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The Steam Whistle brewery is located less than half a kilometer from home plate at the Rogers Centre. It is wholly Canadian owned. I believe they use Canadian malt, although they import hops as many breweries do.

They do not use oak, so you'd be wrong if you thought you tasted that. It's a Pilsner.

As to "drunk fans on the TTC" Steam Whistle is 5.0% alcohol as is the rest of the beer on offer excluding light beers. Also, your suggestion that they lower prices is more conducive to excess than which beer is being offered.


lister / March 21, 2014 at 01:01 pm
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How about selling Steam Whistle and other craft beer side-by-side with the big boys and see what happens? That would be a real fair test to see how sales would be.
Todd Toronto / March 21, 2014 at 01:03 pm
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Inverse relationship between quality of food at SkyDome and the quality of the Jays on-field performance?

Anyone have fond memories of the food at the Dome between 1989-1993?
SUCK MY HOT DOG replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / March 21, 2014 at 01:05 pm
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McDonald`s.
Left Field Mandie replying to a comment from oliverpolli / March 21, 2014 at 01:08 pm
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I couldn't disagree more. This is unfortunate news for beer drinkers and sports fans alike.

Steam Whistle was priced the same as other premium macro cans, was available at precisely one beer kiosk in the Rogers Centre and was not carried by the 'hawkers' in their cooler bags. I would argue that distribution, and not awareness, was the issue for not meeting sales targets if that statement is even true, which I very much doubt. I know many people, myself included, that would go out of their way to hike down to the "Brew House" on the 100 level to buy Steam Whistle, even if it was on the other side or another level of the stadium. Their beer was in 3rd position and replaced an import beer (can't remember which one). I had heard that they blew the previous 3rd position brand's sales out of the water early in the season.

Ontario Craft beer represents 3% of all beer sold in the province and 30% of the jobs in the brewing industry. Most Ontario craft breweries purchase their equipment, ingredients and packaging materials locally as well.

There is a surprisingly huge overlap between baseball fans and craft beer fans and every single Blue Jays blogger shared Steam Whistle's Rogers Centre announcement with loads of enthusiasm last spring.

Drinking and supporting craft beer doesn't mean fans are spending the game talking about complexities in their beer, it's just about having choice and having something that tastes good in your hands to enhance your game-day experience. Actually, it's not unlike what you're asking for in terms of more choice and variety in the food that Aramark offers.

The options at many US ball parks are amazing, see for yourself;
http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/major-league-baseball-craft-beer-guide-2
Craft Beer Girl / March 21, 2014 at 01:12 pm
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Let's be clear. Labatts is scared. Shaking in their booties scared. They're scared because craft beer is taking away their market share slowly and steadily. This is less about Steam Whistle and more about craft beer overall. If the Rogers Center simply embraced the fact that fans want OPTIONS and had a number of stellar Toronto Based, CANADIAN OWNED, INDEPENDENT craft beers on-tap (Steam Whistle, Mill Street, Amsterdam)-- fans would be happy and Rogers would make more money. Win, Win.


By the way oliverpolli, there is a difference between a small, independent craft brewery like Steam Whistle and a foreign owned BULLY brewery like Labatts. I happen to know (as others have said) that Labatts was so scared that Steam Whistle was eating into their sales that they threw millions of dollars at Rogers and Aramark to keep them (and other craft brews) out.

Sad? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Being a bully won't get people to buy your shitty beer any other time. Amalgamate with Shitty Molson and get it over with already.
Steven / March 21, 2014 at 01:13 pm
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Don't care. Haven't been to the SKYDOME in years.
Mike replying to a comment from Steven / March 21, 2014 at 01:18 pm
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Cool.

What are some other things that you don't care about, but still take time our of your day to let people know that you don't care?
Steven replying to a comment from Mike / March 21, 2014 at 01:21 pm
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Michael moore
no loss / March 21, 2014 at 01:31 pm
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This would matter if Steam whistle was a beer worth drinking.

Its terrible. Anyone who says otherwise i simply feel bad for.

How they even truly consider themselves a "craft" beer anymore, defies logic as it is.
Seymour / March 21, 2014 at 01:35 pm
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Lets be honest... Steam Whistle is Molson Canadian in a green can... to say craft beer and Steam Whistle is the same sentence should be a crime. That said... being a Jays fan that attends 25 or more games a year... having real beer at Rogers Centre would be nice addition.
buttscratcher replying to a comment from Craft Beer Girl / March 21, 2014 at 01:35 pm
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Funny that a centre named after the Rogers company would support another massive conglomerate instead of supporting what people want.

Nuts to Rogers and Labatt - Both brands are terrible and I'll continue to exercise my choices as a consumer and not buy either.
Ron / March 21, 2014 at 01:48 pm
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Is this an article or a Steam whistle press release? Obviously the beer wasn't selling, or selling enough to merit the retail space it was taking up. Do you think they would have dumped it if they were making money from it?

Do hipsters watch baseball games anyway?
Seymour replying to a comment from Ron / March 21, 2014 at 01:52 pm
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Yes. Besides opening day, baseball fans are hipsters, geeks and old people. A wonderful mix.
Polliagain replying to a comment from Left Field Mandie / March 21, 2014 at 01:55 pm
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What is more important: Having a craft beer, a Canadian-owned craft beer, beer, or cheap beer? As a fan going to a Jays game, drinking beer is mainly to get drunk. Lets face the truth. If you needed a beverage to keep cool, than there are a lot of non-alcoholic choices. I don't meant to get trashed per say, but having a cold brew is def. a nice addition to the game.


Beer sales are like record sales for anything who follows music sales.

If an artist sells 1 million records in first week, that doesn't mean that 1 million customers went out and purchased 1 cd each that week alone. The record company forecast (based on fan base, marketing + promotions etc)on how many cds should be SHIPPED into the stores. Whether customers go out and buy all 1 million or not, it still shows as 1 million albums "sold".

Same goes for beer, Steam Whistle knew what their 'total sales' were before it even sold one cup at the Rogers Centre. Whether it sold out or not, they already cashed the cheque into their pockets. So its sad when the author states how the brewery responded in "classy fashion". The sales + operation management should of known at the end of last season that they didnt meet expectations. The competition does not 'throw millions' to have them kicked out. Lets be realistic as the Jays care about TOTAL SALES. Labatt is not a primary sponser so that is not the case. You should blame the lack of foresight on Steam Whistle's part in getting their brand out there. I seen their 'street team' at multiple events. Same old shit with stickers and cute girls just sitting there on their iphones. I seen Coors girls going out in the HOT HEAT, handing out beer samples WITH product knowledge. STEP UP OR STEP OFFFFF!
lister / March 21, 2014 at 01:56 pm
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While I wouldn't put Steam Whistle up there with other award winning beers in their category, to call them the equivalent to the usual macro crap is bizarre. I understand if you don't like that segment or like aggressively hopped beers but SW is nowhere close to the macros.
Grampa / March 21, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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Steam Whistle is unremarkable industrial lager that just hapepens to be produced on a smaller scale than the other mainstream industrial lagers on offer at the Rogers Centre. It is not "craft" beer by any reasonable definition of that term. It certainly does not merit a premium over the other swill being sold there.

No great loss with this announcement.
Steven replying to a comment from Polliagain / March 21, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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Do you like Michael Moore?
Scott replying to a comment from Polliagain / March 21, 2014 at 02:03 pm
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Anyone who thinks this is about sales or some lack thereof and not Labatt's demanding exclusivity again isn't paying any attention to the beer industry in this province.

"The competition does not 'throw millions' to have them kicked out."

That's literally what Molson and Labatt's do all over the province to establish their dominance. Steam Whistle performed well given the shitty exposure and location they were given and were squeezed out when Labbatt's flexed their muscles.

Anyone who can't see why people would want to drink a beer that's brewed in the city they're watching baseball in is clearly an idiot. The sort who might write "I seen" and "should of" instead of "should have."
lister replying to a comment from Polliagain / March 21, 2014 at 02:07 pm
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You need to go talk to some bar owners on the practices of the industry as a whole especially the big guys...
Brian / March 21, 2014 at 02:08 pm
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steamwhistle is the worst of the toronto brewery's worst!!! would rather drink more less anything that that skunky crap
Spartacus replying to a comment from Polliagain / March 21, 2014 at 02:11 pm
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Record sales may work like that, but beer sales don't. This is because they are not the same thing.

Records are reusable items that will stand up to multiple re-listenings and for that reason any consumer only needs one of them. Based on market data it may well be possible to anticipate the number of units to ship.

Beer is consumed in sequence. By your own admission, you, "as a jays fan" are drinking to get drunk. There are too many variables to consider to accurately forecast sales for a season's worth of games.

Is it entirely possible that you have no idea what you're talking about and that you feel the need to defend yourself because you're being criticized? It's ok to just be wrong. There's no need to couch it in the ridiculous braggadocio you're using.
Steven replying to a comment from Scott / March 21, 2014 at 02:14 pm
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Do you like Michael Moore?
Rick / March 21, 2014 at 02:47 pm
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This is a head scratcher. The beer is brewed across the street!!! I don't think it's a "Craft" beer by any stretch of the imagination, but its a solid, clean beer thats tastes great ice cold with a hot dog.

Pretty dumb move by Rogers/Aramark
notbelvedere / March 21, 2014 at 02:48 pm
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steam whistle is just the worst stale piss marketed as beer. horrible. how can ppl drink this shit? premium beer?? u gotta be fucking kidding.
Mark Gauthier / March 21, 2014 at 02:55 pm
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That's too bad because Steam Whistle is just so darn good. The other fact which you pointed out is that Ontario is so rich in craft beer that it's really appalling that an organization wouldn't promote the "Little Guy" Steam Whistle is a great business and we need to see more craft guys at sporting events.
Matt / March 21, 2014 at 02:55 pm
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I wish I could like Steam Whistle. I like their branding, their brewery location. And I usually love Pilsners. I just can't stand its aftertaste.
Skunkassbrew / March 21, 2014 at 03:07 pm
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I really wanted to like Steam whistle, but it literally tastes like the zoo or what I imagine licking a skunks asshoooule would taste like. I do like the idea of the Steam Whistle after party though, smart move...at that point after the game your tastes buds are drunk as well so beer taste doesn't matter as much
Chester / March 21, 2014 at 03:10 pm
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I've known Cam & Greg in the bar and restaurant business for 12 years. I remember when they came into my first restaurant trying to sell us Steam Whistle and we had no idea who they were. We saw them struggle to showcase their brand and I'm damn proud to see how they've succeeded since their inception. They have paved the way for everyone single craft beer in this city and I know reps at Amsterdam Brewery who were around 15 years before Steam Whistle and they acknowledge this fact as well.

Being in this business, I refuse to carry any Labatt or Molson/Coors products. I don't mind the product lines that's not my problem it's they just don;t plain give a shit. We make a tradition of going to every Sunday home game and even being a man I would rather drink the Bacardi Breezers then the over priced beer monopoly. Also knowing Aramark as a customer and employee at once they are a daft organization. They have a strangle hold on the Rogers Center, they know that. This was the big boys making a deal with them to prevent Steam Whistle from serving there.

And all who don't like Steam Whistle that's completely fine. You have your own opinion on beer you like, but every time you drink craft beer in this city remember these guys paved the way.
Polliagain replying to a comment from Spartacus / March 21, 2014 at 03:15 pm
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Are you kidding me? Is it on 'tap' like the bigger beers? This is cans/bottles. By cases, they are delivered based on forecast my friend. Looking at POS sales from last season games/time of game/which team they are facing, you can get a good estimate on the amount of beer sold.

Im not wrong as I do work for another sports organization in Toronto...hint hint...and work closely with the food/beverages department. They forecast what they might need and order it as is. Whether Steam Whistle does that per week, per game or per month, they would have the info BEFOREHAND. The article makes it seem like they were blindsided..
Beer over wine replying to a comment from Chester / March 21, 2014 at 03:22 pm
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Actually, it was Cam's dad at Upper Canada who paved the way in the 80s, but I agree with your point.

Just for fun, some beer ratings:

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/molson-canadian/237/
http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/budweiser/473/
http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/labatt-blue/252/

Steam Whistle is certainly considered a better brew...

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/steam-whistle-pilsner/6226/

...though it's no Unibroue. Now that would be something to see at a baseball game (even though they are now owned by Sapporo)!

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/unibroue-la-fin-du-monde/1094/


Fedoraguysbrother replying to a comment from Seymour / March 21, 2014 at 03:27 pm
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If you think Steam Whistle and Canadian taste the same you should just give up drinking beer now. You obviously have no taste buds.
tommy / March 21, 2014 at 03:30 pm
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I'd just like to pipe in to say that Aramark is a terrible company and their food (and I use that word lightly) tastes like cardboard. Their employees are depressing slugs and their ingredient quality is garbage. That boilerplate response from their media-man is a perfect example of their bland, tasteless offering as a company, and to see them go out of business would be a joy. Screw you Aramark, Sodexho, Eurest, and all other corporate food service companies.
Daryl / March 21, 2014 at 03:41 pm
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I am not surprised at Rogers Center removing Steam Whistle. While it is craft beer, they offer a limited set of varieties, which in my experience craft beer fans enjoy.

The best move the Jays could make after releasing this original craft beer prospect is to bring in a quality young free agent.

I would recommend Left Field Brewery ... the marketing options and quality beer will be amazing!
http://www.leftfieldbrewery.ca/
Fedora Man replying to a comment from Mike / March 21, 2014 at 04:02 pm
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My balls are itchy. Also, Fedoras are not the same as Porkpies.
Seymour replying to a comment from Fedoraguysbrother / March 21, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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If you think Steam Whistle tastes great then good for you... it isn't wrong to state a preference... but you should try to expand your beer horizon.
chris / March 21, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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I've been going to about 10 Jays games a year for the last 7 or so years. I avoid industrial brews and it's always been a chore to find drinkable beer in Rogers Centre. The hawkers never carry it and not every booth has it. One of the first things I do on opening day is to do an audit of the beer vendors to see who is selling something I will drink. If they refuse to sell craft beer at Jays games this season, they will not be getting my dollar.
confused / March 21, 2014 at 04:35 pm
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i don't understand this. i had craft beer at the Skydome last summer... granted it was in a tall boy can and not on tap, but it was tasty and greatly appreciated.
(btw, SteamWhistle is tasteless crap)
Stan / March 21, 2014 at 05:07 pm
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I smuggle in liquor. win-win.
Say what! / March 21, 2014 at 05:49 pm
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Confused, the tall can that you speak of that was available... Was steam whistle. You stated it was tasty. I guess you like steam whistle after all.
Wit Dickman / March 21, 2014 at 05:53 pm
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Regardless if it's sold at the Dome or not my buddies and I will continue to take to Steamwhistle tour, collect our cheap six pack and get smashed for a reasonable price before hitting up the Jays game.
Smuggy Smuggerson / March 21, 2014 at 06:08 pm
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Fact is Steamwhistle might be called craft, but its geared as a maintstream beer. Just because its not from Labatts/Interbrew or MolsonCoors doesn't mean its craft beer quality or taste. Steamwhistle is at that same level as the D'angelo Foods' labels like Steelback was before it went tits up, or Mountan Crest out of Edmonton.

Creemore Springs. Now that's a real craft beer. I fed that to some aficionados' from out west and they nearly jizzed in their pants. Give me some Mikkeller or some Westmalle, or some Chimay. That's fucking beer.

Baylor / March 21, 2014 at 07:25 pm
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Umm. Smuggy. Creemore is owned and operated by MolsonCoors. Enjoy your craft beer
lister replying to a comment from Smuggy Smuggerson / March 21, 2014 at 08:48 pm
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The equivalent to Steelback?! Really?! Wow! I swear some of the negative stuff here is unbelievable. You can't compare it to other beer styles, that's unfair. The best rated lager doesn't compare well to most Belgian beers or a hop bomb or a roasty stout. DUH! Steam Whistle, while not the absolute best in it's style, is still WAY better than the likes of Steelback and the macro lagers. It has improved over the years too so if you're basing your opinion of the early version a decade and a half ago you need to try it again.

The asshole beer snobs are a sad little bunch. I'm a beer snob myself but manage to avoid the asshole part of it.
tsjns / March 21, 2014 at 09:55 pm
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I was a season ticket holder. Bought a beer or two a game. Had no idea Steam Whistle was sold at the dome.
Brandon / March 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm
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In fairness, Steamwhistle isn't really "craft" beer. Simply because they operate on a small scale and aren't owned by a macro (the same formula Creemore followed for decades before being bought out) doesn't make them "craft". Craft beers should be, at the very least, experimental and forward moving by nature; that's tough to do when you make a single beer.

That aside, like everything in Toronto, the beer is over priced and the selection is brutal. Steamwhistle didn't improve the selection.
Um replying to a comment from oliverpolli / March 21, 2014 at 11:41 pm
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Shut up.
Drew / March 22, 2014 at 12:03 am
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A poll/ selection should be offered to the season ticket holders. We can all have a preference and shout online our beer preference but if you don't actually go to games you vote shouldn't really count. I go to a game every 2-3 years it seems I'll order a pint of whatever they serve for the amount I go.

Living in Toronto I do consider Steam Whistle one of the bigger beer brands at this point. They've been around the city a long time and grown and grown they're hardly the average craft brewery that's been around 1-2 years.
Drew / March 22, 2014 at 12:05 am
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I will definately say though the Rogers Center doens't have close to the drink selection the ACC has, with all the Beers, Smirnoff Ice and Caesars, A few big bars open to anyone.
Poutine Waffles / March 22, 2014 at 12:20 am
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Aramark=American. Labatts=American. Rogers Centre=Canadian. What the bejesus is going on here? Why are americano gringos even allowed to have an interest in Canadian establshments like The Skydome? The americanization of Canadiana has to stop. Whas next...stephen herper hiring dickcheney or rumsfeld as military consultants? People need to start supporting Canadian businesses. Have some respect or gtfo of my country.
seanm / March 22, 2014 at 02:26 am
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I'll start by stating that I don't personally like Steamwhistle, I think it's a mediocre beer at best in a style dominated by mediocrity.

That said, despite their ubiquity in Ontario, I still appreciate that they are generally craft in spirit. Not so much in taste or style, but case-in-point, the craft beer festivals they host and general support of the industry in general. When would one see the macros host competing brewers right at their own doorstep? Probably not often since it's an industry that spends more on (bad) advertising than it does developing interesting beer.

Serving Steamwhistle was a step in the right direction for the Rogers owned and renamed SkyDome, but sadly the scared multinationals have used their draconian tactics to set beer retailing yet another step back in this country.

The issue at hand is beyond craft vs. macro. It's the fact that a handful of shitty multinationally owned macros still effectively own the beer market in Ontario. Whether through the TBS retail market, or in places like the 'Dome, ACC etc., the Ontario consumer is being denied choice. Choice that these same companies are clearly terrified of, since they're becoming increasingly concerned about the craft market's growth.

All said though, sadly 9 out of 10 beers consumed in this province are still shitty, watery pale lagers since all that ad money still convinces Dorito-stained Joe (or Jane) that drinking a Bud will make him/her less socially reprehensible. Oh well, whatever gets you shittered, right bro.
In a drunken stupor / March 22, 2014 at 07:21 am
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steam whistle tastes like steaming piss. I think Rogers centre should set up shooter bars serving Iceberg vodka
joeseph replying to a comment from Polliagain / March 22, 2014 at 08:14 am
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So you are responsible for the shitty beer selection at another sports venue in Toronto. Great job Polliagain!
joeseph replying to a comment from Polliagain / March 22, 2014 at 08:14 am
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So you are responsible for the shitty beer selection at another sports venue in Toronto. Great job Polliagain!
jay / March 22, 2014 at 08:15 am
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More like, 'That time when you could drink a craft beer and watch the Blue Jays'.
Jason replying to a comment from seanm / March 22, 2014 at 08:47 am
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@seanm you said most of what I was going to write.

Wikipedia's definition of "craft beer" is beer made by a microbrewery in a limited quantity. This definition doesn't capture the spirit of most people's understanding of craft beer as something that is 'crafted' and not manufactured industrially. I don't consider Steamwhistle a crafted beer. It's tasteless and uninteresting, although the branding and brewery is cool. This tempest about the Jays not serving it anymore seems misplaced.
Bobbyc / March 22, 2014 at 11:16 am
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Hats off to steamwhislte for being sl gracious. And for their service last season. The service at skydome really could not be any worse. When I saw a game in Baltimore last year I had crab cakes and a wonderful local beer. When I go to see the blue jays this year I will not have shit beer or shit food. I won't have anything at all. That is the only action these bigwigs understand.
Jmons / March 22, 2014 at 11:31 am
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I'd just as much sneak my flask in and stave off the ridiculous price of beer altogether.
Allan replying to a comment from oliverpolli / March 22, 2014 at 03:43 pm
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Really buddy?

Please let me know what components of Steamwhistle are "foreign sourced"? Canada produces a sizable percentage of the world's cash crop production. There are only 3 ingredients in beer to my knowledge, all cash crops.

With regards to funding, I know for a fact that the majority (if not all) of Steamwhistle's funding comes from Canada...

Please do a little more research if you're going to make bold statements.
sybil@steamwhistle.ca / March 23, 2014 at 10:07 am
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Disclosure: Sybil Taylor here, Steam Whistle’s first employee, married to co-founder Greg. Firstly, thank you to the many offerings of support here and through your social media posts. They are humbling and heart-warming. There are lots of opinions being shared here and a little misinformation. We invite any and all to our doors-open craft brewery to taste our beer and learn first-hand about the real Steam Whistle. We are not an experimental brewer, instead we are a band of purists/traditionalists who are dedicated to brewing a Canadian Craft Pilsner using only four natural ingredients. You will not find any American funding or caramel colouring or other secret ingredients at our brewery, nor will you find high-gravity brewing or a pasteurizer. But you will find a Czech Master Brewer devoted to his craft and a warm welcome from happy, passionate employees. Open 7days a week across the street from the Rogers Center!
kasual / March 23, 2014 at 03:04 pm
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That's great news because Steam Whistle is garbage. One of the low points of the Toronto beer scene is the ubiquitous of this boring, sour and stank beer all over town. Props to them for being so active in community and all, but it's just bad beer.

Maybe this will now open the door to some options at Jay's games. I would take Amsterdam, Mill St., Spearhead, or Junction over Mill. St at the game any day!
darkages / March 24, 2014 at 07:30 am
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Steamwhistle is a pilsner. It's not the most profound beer but not meant to be. It clean, drinkable and true to style, and is certainly not deserving of the tear-down it has received on this blog. Easy with the dramatics ladies. What it is, however, is a small (albeit large of the small) brewery which has established itself as a solid Toronto landmark in a tough business sector. When I moved to Ontario a few years ago and went to a Jays game I recall thinking "uhhh, Steamwhistle is a cool brewery right across the street... why isn't it here??!!". It's a no-brainer. Aramark missed the mark on this undoubtedly due to macro brewery pressure and greed. Would it have sunk the Rogers Centre to pay a bit more to give sportsman's a choice? No. But they would have retained respect. Now they've lost both. And for all who only equate craft beers with Belgian Tripels and Lambics, I like them too, but there's a range guys. And typically, macrosports fans aren't the target market. Introducing a Steamwhistle is about as much flavour as most can handle when they're use to nothing but A-B brands. Steamwhistle IS pushing their flavour envelope and was a step in the right direction.
Bill / March 24, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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There is information that has not been disclosed. This issue includes a refusal by Steamwhistle to terms that all other brewers in the place have agreed to.... That said , more craft beers would be great!
Michael replying to a comment from Bill / March 24, 2014 at 03:06 pm
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Do you like Michael Moore my best friend ever Bill?
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Poutine Waffles / March 24, 2014 at 04:02 pm
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Labatts is American? Since when? Last I read, it's owned by a Belgian-Brazilian multinational beverage and brewing company headquartered in Leuven, Belgium (ABinBev-http://www.ab-inbev.com). Sure, Labatts isn't Canadian anymore, but it's not run from the USA, either.

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