No more free beer at SeaWorld or Busch Gardens

Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2009 9:03 AM | Contributed by CPJ

Busch Entertainment Corp. is about to end of the longest-standing traditions at its theme parks: Free beer sampling. The company announced this morning that it will close the popular hospitality houses at all of its SeaWorld and Busch Garden parks beginning this month. The facilities will eventually re-open -- without the beer sampling.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 9:23 AM

There are going to be lots of people with "bitter" faces after finding out they dont get free beer anymore :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 10:45 AM

Honestly, what kind of hospitality is that?


Tuesday, January 6, 2009 12:08 PM

No more free beer? That's really sad. I just got back from trips to Sea World and BGA and was amazed by the free beer. I assume they'll be getting rid of the Brewmaster's Club as well? I really enjoyed doing that at both parks. I learned a lot about beers and found a couple of new favorites from the samples I had.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 12:16 PM

Oh the humanity....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:03 PM InBev prepares to divest itself of its amusement park operations...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:15 PM

There was a memo that went around to employees a week or two ago indicating they could no longer get free beer, which surprised me in the first place.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:29 PM

The Orlando news last was ALL over this policy change. It's a big decline in "value" IMO since older folks and non-riding parents could often visit the Hospitality Houses, look at some plants and animals, shop, and feel like they had a good day at the park.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:49 PM

I never even knew they were there, and I'm not sure how many people really did. My last visit to a Busch park was 2003, and at the time, I had a total of 8 visits without knowing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 3:09 PM

When did the Williamsburg park stop serving free beer? Or was it always just the Florida parks that did it? I only ask 'cause I visited BGE for the first time this summer, and there were (very unfortunately) no free samples to be found anywhere.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009 4:00 PM

Jeff said:
I never even knew they were there, and I'm not sure how many people really did.

Sea World's had a line with three bar tenders when I was there on a cold, rainy fall afternoon. That's just my experience though.

coasterdude318 said:
When did the Williamsburg park stop serving free beer?

I am not sure they ever did. They do have "beer school" which I suspect won't go anywhere.

Last edited by eightdotthree, Tuesday, January 6, 2009 4:02 PM
Tuesday, January 6, 2009 4:27 PM

As if there were any doubt remaining, this eliminates all chance: Hard Rock Park will not be starting up that acid sampling Microbus they were considering for next year . . .

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 4:54 PM

Still getting free beer at Grant's Farm for 2009. It may not be an amusement park but it's still a nice place to visit with the kids.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 5:47 PM

RideMan said: InBev prepares to divest itself of its amusement park operations...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Actually you arent too far from the truth. The reasoning given to the higher levels at BGE is that, Busch "absorbs" the costs of the "free" beer that employees and park goers enjoy. Basically its like the power and water issue. In the past before InBev, money is/was just shuffled around between the parks and breweries. Now they are basically working towards separating resources for future (insert rumor here).

Busch basically told the employees basically that they can no longer absorb the costs associated with the free beer and such on top many other "cost saving" maneuvers. Its good times all around though let me tell ya.

(edit - afterthought) Before anyone wishes they were an employee of the parks for free beer.. It technically was only given to the full time 12 mo employees. (ie Suits). The people you mostly see in the parks didn't see such benefit.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Tuesday, January 6, 2009 5:50 PM
Tuesday, January 6, 2009 9:43 PM

I feel lame for saying it, but this will seriously make me question my annual pass there. It's like a 'right of passage' for Orlando residents and theme park goers.. the free beer samples at Sea World (and Busch to a lesser extent)

Guess I won't have to bring these to the park anymore.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 10:07 PM

This is disappointing news. I was surprised it even existed when we visited SWSA. This on top of a $5 fare hike at SWO? Hmmm.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 9:48 AM

This to mee is just one little step into what will become corporate greed from a buisness purchssed. That and the Tampa Addmissions hike. Cost will go up. Investment down and freebies taken away. Sure AH was corporate as well but there was family influence on the board.I also don't see how stuff like the Hospitality houses wouldn't be included in the advertising budget and therefore a write off.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 11:06 AM

Why is the desire to be profitable greedy?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 11:20 AM

I see it as a slippery slope. The beer sampling was one of those things that made the Busch parks special and different. Their recycling, conservation and military programs certainly aren't profitable in any way, could we see those go away as well?

Hopefully it ends with the beer. Since InBev is looking to part with the parks this makes sense. However I don't trust the man.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 11:30 AM

I don't think free beer is something you can honestly compare to conservation and recycling, is it?


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