During the 1970’s, a Schaefer Beer commercial appeared with the addictive jingle, “Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one.” If there was ever a beer ad which could give rise to the rapid growth of AA members, this would be it. Had MADD been around in the ‘70’s, they probably would have shut down F&M Schaefer Brewing Company just for that slogan alone. The political incorrectness, which spawned television characters such as Archie Bunker, is one of the few admirable characteristics of the decade known best for its relentless assault on sensible fashion.
When the NHL finally awakes from it slumber and decides to end its self-imposed hibernation, be prepared to whip out your Amex Platinum Card at a Montreal Canadiens hockey game if you are planning to have more than one. In the 2011-12 season, the price of beer at the Bell Centre was $0.62 an ounce. For those who are not big on conversions, this comes to an unfathomable $79.36 a gallon. Wow! That is some awfully expensive urine there.
To put this fan fleece job into proper perspective, the same uninspiring generic tasting beer at a retailer would run you about 0.20 cents an ounce, or roughly one third of the price. And the bad news does not end there.
As my microbrewer friend has told me, the cost of the bottle is more than the cost of the beer – and he brews expensive premium unfiltered beer which is triple fermented. The filtered carbonated alcoholic liquid sold at the arena is served in cheap plastic cups, not bottles, so the profit increases even more.
Of course, one can counter with the argument that there are additional labor costs involved at a game. For sure…I can see where hiring a few low wage employees for a few hours to pour beer is really going to tear into such an astronomical profit margin. We should all have such problems.
Since the Canadiens are owned by Geoff Molson of the famous Molson beer family, it is not difficult to see why the team would hold their captive beer drinking audience hostage. The Habs not only own the highest beer prices in the NHL, they own the beer as well. Obviously, Mr. Molson does not share the same compassion for the Habs fans as he does for the team. If he did, certainly he would use his genetic connections with the family to cut the fans a break on the excessive prices.
Second on the list of highest NHL beer prices are the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Nashville Predators at $0.56 an ounce. But considering their ticket prices are about 45% lower than the Canadiens, the fans do not feel the sting as much. Actually, it makes sense that the Blue Jackets and Predators attempt to recoup some money in beer sales due to lower ticket prices. What is the Canadiens excuse?
Now here is where Montreal fans should really start to freak out – even without hitting a ‘70s disco dance floor. The team with the lowest beer prices in the league are the Colorado Avalanche, who weigh in at a very affordable $0.26 an ounce. The Avs ownership does not own the beer they sell and ticket prices are approximately 55% lower than the Canadiens. Even though the Avs have a valid excuse to charge higher beer prices, they choose not to exploit their fan base, which is rather admirable and quite rare these days.
Located approximately fifteen miles from Denver is the town of Golden, Colorado, which is home to Coors Beer. Molson and Coors merged in 2005 and are now known as Molson Coors. I have not figured it all out yet, but this must be one of those six degrees of separation deals. What I have figured out is that the Montreal Canadiens are doing their best to separate their fans from their money. Instead of saying beer me, Habs fans should be saying steer clear of me.
If Archie Bunker were around today and informed of the exorbitant beer prices at a Canadiens game, he would fall off his favorite chair in shock while taking a swig of his cherished brew. At these prices, Archie Bunker’s Place would have made a mint. Certainly, those were the days.