Hartford Yard Goats Innovate With Beer, Bats, and Bold Moves

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Ask any baseball fan, and they’ll admit that purchasing novelty items is part of the full stadium experience.

For example, professional franchises have been offering mini-helmet ice cream sundaes at their concession stands for decades, and there’s always been souvenir cups, which usually feature an exciting player or some other element of the team. Both are designed to entice fans to shell out money for a snack or drink simply for the uniqueness and exclusivity of the packaging.

The Hartford Yard Goats, the Eastern League Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, took this strategy to a whole new level by becoming the first team to sell beer in a baseball bat.

The Yard Goats unveiled the new option this season, which underscores the importance of building out the entire ballpark experience.

“The beer bats actually came about pretty interestingly,” Yard Goats President Tim Restall said. “During the offseason, a local business here in Hartford reached out wanting to meet. They design food vehicles, which are basically those creative food containers you see at places like hotels out in Vegas.”

Think, drinking a margarita out of a gigantic plastic high-heel or some other outrageously shaped novelty cup. Meanwhile, that call got Restall debating about how valuable adding something like this to the Yard Goats’ gameday repertoire could be.

“We got on a brainstorming call, and talked about what the Yard Goats brand was and ballpark atmosphere was like,” Restall explained. “Speaking together, we realized they could be a valuable partner designing some sort of ‘beer vehicle’ for us to sell here at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.”  

Paramount to any sort of initiative like this would be capturing the essence of the Yard Goat brand, as well as offering something that tapped into the experience of what it’s like to be a baseball fan authentically. Restall and the Yard Goats exchanged ideas with the company — which included a gigantic horn, a trash can, and a few other suggestions based on a play on the Goats’ brand — but none felt true to what it means to be a baseball fan.

After a bit of back and forth, it dawned on Restall: “What if we went with something more connected to baseball, and used that to showcase the Yard Goats’ identity?” That’s how the idea of a gigantic baseball bat came about — and after extensive research and development, the 25oz hollow baseball bat beer containers featuring a Yard Goats logo were born.

Beyond boosting concession sales, the more important element of something like this is what it adds to the overall ballpark experience. It’s not just an item for sale — it’s a souvenir that fans can get only at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.   

“In that regard, it’s almost like a carnival or fair,” Restall mentioned. “This helps us create that sort of fun, event-like celebratory atmosphere,” he continued. Like the cotton candy or stuffed animals only available at a carnival, the beer bats bring that sense of excitement and exclusivity to the game.

The beer bats have been remarkably effective, as Restall marveled at the enthusiastic reception they’ve received from all kinds of fans at games. The team president recalled walking around the park during one particular game and seeing families thoroughly enjoying the bats, as well as millennial-aged fans eagerly scooping up the hot item and posting pictures all over social media before they even took a sip.

We will cheers to that!