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No more free beer at Seaworld Orlando

Sea World Orlando: Hospitality House & Brewmaster Club to close this month.

From Gareth H
Posted January 4, 2009 at 8:13 PM
As I sit here in the hospitality house at Seaworld Orlando, supping on a bud light lime, I learn that the free beer will end on January 31st and also that the HH will close. replacement? more than likely a smokehouse.
Sad news for the staff who are so dedicated to pouring you a sample.
This also means the end to the Brewmaster club.
Still no word on the potential ownership of the park..


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 4, 2009 at 11:37 PM
Thats really sad! That whole area was great with the horses, beer, and food! I think it is a very bad idea to get rid of those things. I mean they still stand for Budweiser no matter who owns them!

From Rob P
Posted January 5, 2009 at 3:40 AM
Really sorry to see the end of what was, so far as I know , a unique gesture by Busch at their Parks.
Complimentary refreshments ,albeit samplers ,were a nice touch and always very welcome.
I recall one very cold December day having been drenched in icy water by a dolphin. I could not dry off at all and , as the sun refused to reveal itself from behind the clouds, I suddenly found myself outside the hospitality buliding. What I should have been looking for was some hot coffee but the lure of that welcoming bar was too much to resist. I don't know if the staff were breaking the rules but I know that I exceeded the usual limit of two samplers many times over. They had taken pity on this poor soul and for that I shall be eternally grateful.I drank a number of O'Doul's and Buds in little cups. Dried somewhat and returned to explore the rest of Seaworld.
I'll miss that place and the Clydesdales for sure.

From tilikum shamu
Posted January 5, 2009 at 6:28 AM
Seems like I've heard this somewhere before like back on Nov. 23 in my original post about the AB-Inbev era. This seems to support the theory of an IPO for the parks, seperating them even more from the AB-InBev umbrella. If there is no HH or BMC, then why keep the AB logo around? Also, be very interesting to get an update on the Clydesdales... If we're not plugging the beer anymore, why continue with the iconic symbol of the company? Any word on whether or not they've definitely stopped walking the horses around the park? That was cut back to three days a week before the end of the year and was supposed to end after Jan. 1. I'll be back at the park this week and will have an update.

From Gareth H
Posted January 5, 2009 at 7:39 AM
FYI, I got my info from a staff member at the HH yesterday, late afternoon.

The Person advised me that they were told in a meeting on Saturday night about the closure on happening the 31st. Come the 1st of feb the free samples would be stopped.

More meetings will folow when they learn the fate of their employment status.

For now the horses will continue to walk the park.

Does this also mean an end to my fav food at Seaworld? The beef stew? (Do they sell the beef stew at the other Seaworld parks? I know they don't at Busch Gardens in Tampa)

From Scott Joseph
Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:50 AM
Both Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Orlando will stop serving free beer samples at the end of January. The hospitality centers will be converted to eateries. I have details on my flog at http://tinyurl.com/7lbknu

From Gareth H
Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:26 AM
Sad day to have this confirmed, but I will continue to buy Bud products....

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/business_tourism_aviation/2009/01/no-more-free-be.html

From Tracy Bates
Posted January 5, 2009 at 12:44 PM
I just had a free beer at Busch Gardens Tampa on Thursday of last week. The lack of free beer won't make me stop going there, but I don't like it none the less. It's a tradition and it's one of the things that makes them different from those other parks.

From Robert Niles
Posted January 5, 2009 at 1:22 PM
I also heard that Busch is also stopping the free beer for employees. Read a report that said that Busch theme park employees had gotten two free cases of Bud a month.

Whaaa? Is that true?

From Gareth H
Posted January 5, 2009 at 1:31 PM
Attending the last day of free beer at any of the Busch or Seaworld parks?

Show your attendance here.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=47384285587#

(Don't forget to add TPI's new Facebook group page too)

From Chaz B
Posted January 5, 2009 at 2:35 PM
Yes it is true. The benefit of monthly beer pick-up is gone as of this past December. It was a benefit that BEC purchased for their employees but AB employees will still receive theirs.

The Clydesdales will still be around for 2009.

From Pyra Dong
Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:44 PM
That's definitely true. Busch employees over 21 are qualified to pick up two free cases of beer-- and these are boxes of 48 cans!! Although I was qualified since April, I only picked up my benefits twice... and now I'm kicking myself for not getting my beer for December. If I had only known...

From tilikum shamu
Posted January 6, 2009 at 5:35 AM
I went back and reread some of the threads that all got started with my original post at the end of November both here and in the Orlando Sentinel. The response from Fred Jacobs at BEC was that they had no direction from AB-Inbev and that they knew of no plans to discontinue the HH, Brewmasters Clubs, etc.
Boy, how that has changed in less than month and less than two months since the merger was made official. Hard to believe they could come up with the bright idea of retheming the HH areas into eateries in less than a month. I spend a lot of time at SW (several times a week usually; usually once a week at BGA) because it is local and one of the few places in the world I can see orcas in captivity. I just bought my girlfriend a platinum pass and have another year left on mine. A visit there for us is worth $50-$100 for them every time. I think from now on, we're going to start packing our own food and drink and heading to the car when we want lunch or a snack. I also think I am going to go ahead and get my passes for Universal. This whole AB-Inbev debacle, starting with the family selling out to a company they should have bought five years ago, makes me sick. I've also been a loyal AB supporter through their products for years and am going to have to rethink that as well. It truly is sad.

From Jason Jackson
Posted January 6, 2009 at 7:34 AM
Yep, you can't blame InBev. It seems to me they are making business decisions while the Busch family walked away with Millions.

From Gareth H
Posted January 6, 2009 at 9:13 AM
Check out an interview with Robert Niles and Myself.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/orl-busch0609jan06,0,6489446.story

From Gareth H
Posted January 6, 2009 at 9:34 AM
You really can't blame them for this, after all, what other park gives you anything for free?

Getting 2 beers each time you visit was a pretty good deal, and you canot base your decision on getting an AP on that alone.
Quite honestly, the people who commented on yesterdays Sentinel article are hadly going to cancel their passes, or not renew, just because they won't get free beer anymore.

The food quality at any Busch park far exceeds the voer the counter stuff you get any most other parks (Even some Disney over the counter).

Yes, I go a couple of times a week and sit in teh smoking area at the HH, drink a couple of beer, play some games in the Arcade and walk around the park, maybe taking in the late Shamu Show. And Yes, the free beer sure does help, but will I cancel my passes? Hell no. Reason? For $220 a year, I get to visit ANY Busch Park in the US and park for free.
Included in that is Aquatica.

The only part that is a downer for me is that I probably won't get to sit in my fav spot, in teh smoking are, right up at the back, looking around at the Gardens, beautiful pond and the arrange of wildlife that passes you by.

If I want beer I can buy it, its no biggie.

So for anyone thinking of cancelling their AP because of no more free beer, think about what you actually get for your money! The rides, the shows, the Entertainment and so much more!!

From tilikum shamu
Posted January 6, 2009 at 11:12 AM
Several of the news reports have mentioned that they'll be removing all Busch memorabilia (which I reported here a while ago). I wonder — since they're owned by a beer company that soooo valued the history and heritage of the organization — how that fits into the "longterm business plans" mentioned by Fred Jacobs... especially since the memorabilia doesn't belong to AB but to ABIII.

From tilikum shamu
Posted January 7, 2009 at 6:11 AM
Also, one has to wonder... at $70 per head, don't you think they factor in the two "free beers" for drinking age guests? Even if they were being charged by the parent company, how much more could that be? On any given day during peak, the park could have 20,000 to 25,000 people. Figure a third of them have two beers apiece. Now, multiply that by five parks and by a three month summer season. All of the sudden, the parks seem to go a long way towards establishing Bud and Bud Lights place as the largest selling beers in the world. They could actually see a drop in market share due to this move, depending on how AB accounts for those "samples".
I think their longterm business plan is to launch an IPO to take BEC independent — sans any Busch connection. I've heard rumors of that for a while. If that's true, what kind of future would the ultimate Busch Brewing Keepsake — the Clydesdales — have?

From Gareth H
Posted January 7, 2009 at 9:12 AM
You can be certain that any future park owner signs an exclusive 10 or 20 year deal to sell bud product exclusively!
This would ensure Bud maintains its profile and gives the new park owners a deal, which helps in the current economic meltdown!

From Gareth H
Posted January 7, 2009 at 12:39 PM
Correction to the final date.
It will now be Sunday, feb 1st!!

From Joshua Counsil
Posted January 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM
They increase their prices and take away their freebies? Dag.

From tilikum shamu
Posted January 8, 2009 at 4:42 AM
The only thing you are likely to see new owners (which I still think they'll try to go the IPO route) get is a deal on the park. I don't see Carlos Brito giving anybody deals on beer — and I don't believe he or anybody else there considers the parks important to the brand-building or image of the company. What's truly sad is that a savvy marketer like Dave Peacock wouldn't see it. Not sure if you picked it up, but you can check out the story about how the company got rid of the Bevo Mill — which they've owned since 1915 (http://suburbanjournals.stltoday.com/articles/2009/01/07/south/news/doc4964f5a67300b983043598.txt).
It's not so much the beer, but BEC has thrived as a theme park company because of the largesse and corporate culture of its parent — and the involvement of ABIII and his kids that actually care about what their grandfather Gussie started with BG. That, as of Nov. 18, is gone. What is left is a bunch of money hungry, bottom-line pushing Brazilians. How well do we think this adjunct company will do under their care? Sickening.
It would not surprise me at all to see them backoff on their stand on sustainable seafood in all the eateries and for the animals. This is pure speculation — and no one inside the company has hinted at anything like that — but given the new culture of the parent company, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. I mean a 25-pound farm-raised salmon for Shamu has to cost a little bit more than beer for Uncle Fred from Ohio, right?
It also wouldn't surprise me to see this sweeping AB-Inbev change: In the past, AB has been an ardent environmental supporter, doing far more than they ever took credit for. Look for that to be trimmed back — despite what they are saying — and look for them to take more credit and seek more press coverage for doing less.

From Andy Stevens
Posted January 13, 2009 at 5:42 AM
It's sad to hear that this is happening, and knowing the corporate mindset it may well be the start of something unpleasant, although I hope not. We didn't always take advantage of the free beer, but, it was there if we wanted it and that was appreciated. We'll certainly miss the absence of AB memorabillia which was always good quality and always went down well as presents for family and friends.

From Steve Ward
Posted January 13, 2009 at 1:39 PM
but does this mean that Busch Gardens and Seaworld will stop selling beer all together ?
Its very refreshing to have a frosty one mid way through the day..

Please say they are keeping the budweiser taps around the parks

From Gareth H
Posted January 13, 2009 at 7:37 PM
Oh, you'll still be able to buy, at around $5.50!!

From Rick Zimmer
Posted January 13, 2009 at 11:11 PM
I was just at Sea World Orlando today and found out the bad news. As soon as my card expires there will be no renewal. This was one of the highlights of a day off. A quick trip out to Sea World to ride the Kraken roller coaster and have have a couple of complimentary brews. But it looks like that is to be no more. Too bad AB is taking this stand. I wonder if it would have changed policy if the company had stayed in American hands? They just lost another customer and from what I read here I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last! I think they are shooting themselves in the foot here, especially with the current economy. People are going to more careful than ever with discretionary dollars and try to make them stretch. For AB this is certainly a step in the wrong direction!

From Gareth H
Posted February 2, 2009 at 3:56 PM
I was at Seaworld yesterday for last call.

It was a sad moment, lots of tears from staff and regulars.

At about 5.55pm last orders were called with a ring of the bell.

At 6pm the staff all got to ring the bell to indicate the bar was closed and no more free beer would be served.

All the staff got together for photos, including some regulars too.

The goood news is that the staff will still have jobs to go to, even if its not in their desired role, and also that the bar will reopen shortly with 2 pumps serving beer, at $1.99 for a 12oz glass, the other 2 pumps will serve soda.


It certainly won't be the same, but, for now, at least the atmosphere won't change too much!!!

I'm sure for any facebook users (Remember to add TPI) there will be photos added.

DING!!!!

From s b
Posted April 13, 2009 at 4:53 PM
are you kidding????
yes I am going to cancel my passport!!!!
i looked forward to the beer school/hosp. house visit at the a-b parks and i was caught unprepared this weekend when i went to virginia -- it was the one thing my husband and i could enjoy while our teens went on the rides.....
we are deeply disappointed in a-b for selling out and in inbev for cancelling this important perk at the parks :(
i am not returning to any a-b park anytime soon and am cancelling my passport tomorrow
bye bye busch gardens
now you are just like everyone else

From hannah caller
Posted April 14, 2009 at 9:54 AM
Wow did you ever stop to look around Seaworld it's a pretty amazing park, it looks great, the animal attractions are great, the shows are also pretty good there are behind the scenes tours etc, I love beer but can quite easily spend time there without once having to go for a beer, free or not. If you Ask me it's your loss not Seaworlds.

From Gareth H
Posted April 14, 2009 at 11:55 AM
Kudos to Hannah :D

From David
Posted April 14, 2009 at 3:31 PM
Ok I own a Kegorator and still loved Free beer when I could get it, but I have to agree with Gareth and Hannah. Going to Sea World for JUST the free beer is like taking plane trips so you can get the free peanuts. Yeah that sounds stupid, but think about how it sounds on the free beer part. So you pay for an A.P. that you use how often to get a few free drinks every now and then? What is next you going to stop buying your A-B/Inbev beer next and go to S. Adams (and I like S.A.) or another non-Inbev beer too since after all, same company getting your money.. Sea World/Busch Gardens has a lot more to offer than just free beer, a lot more than they did BEFORE there was ever free beer there. Now back to my beer :o)

From steve lee
Posted April 14, 2009 at 3:34 PM
hannah, I tried to post something like that at least a half dozen times, but I was unable to find a way to do it without really being a complete jerk about it.

Congratulations on finding the correct words.

From steve lee
Posted April 14, 2009 at 4:33 PM
I coulda sworn there used to be a "delete message" option. Pardon my double post.

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