Chicago White Sox Announce ‘Craft Beer’ Deal with Goose Island, a Brewery Owned by Big Beer

Chicago White Sox Announce ‘Craft Beer’ Deal with Goose Island, a Brewery Owned by Big Beer

One week into the 2018 Major League Baseball season, the Chicago White Sox have announced a multiyear agreement with Goose Island Beer Company to make it the team’s “official craft beer partner.”

Goose Island is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which means the Chicago-based brewery doesn’t fit the Brewers Association definition of a craft brewer. As regular CraftBeer.com readers are aware, the Brewers Association publishes CraftBeer.com. Great American Beer Bars

The Goose agreement comes two weeks after news that Chicago’s Revolution Brewing, an independently-owned brewery, would be expanding its presence of the Revolution Brewing #SoxSocial Tap Room at the White Sox’ Guaranteed Rate Field this season.

(READ: Here is a List of the Top 50 U.S. Craft Breweries in 2017)

To be clear, Revolution’s #SoxSocial Tap Room isn’t going anywhere. But the agreement with Goose is a prime example of how Big Beer attempts to co-opt the word “craft,” (i.e. “official craft beer partner”) which confuses beer lovers who are looking to spend their money on beer from small and independent breweries.

The White Sox VP of sales and marketing puts the deal in simple terms: more money means more exposure.

“The reality is you’ll see a bigger presence from Goose Island because it’s a bigger deal,” Brooks Boyer tells the Chicago Tribune’s Josh Noel. “Goose Island was more aggressive in their approach and we worked to maximize their exposure throughout the ballpark.”

(READ: Think Consolidation Can’t Hurt Beer? Watch John Oliver’s Take)

The “Illusion of Choice” on display at ballparks and stadiums is nothing new. Check out photos inside our 2016 article from CraftBeer.com Publisher Julia Herz. The photos were taken inside Nationals Park in Washington, DC, just one year apart. In that single year, the draft beer choices went from beers by 11 owners to beers from a single owner.

independent craft brewer seal t-shirt
A brewer shows off his t-shirt with the independent craft brewer seal at Collaboration Fest. (CraftBeer.com)

As Noel’s pre-season coverage points out, there is still choice inside Guaranteed Rate Stadium. He reports the White Sox Craft Kave serves mostly local and regional beer brands, and this season, the Craft Kave Express was also introduced. That’s good news for beer lovers who want to spend their money on beer from small and independently owned breweries. So is the new deal that makes independently-owned Sam Adams the official beer of the Boston Red Sox.

(MAP: Find Breweries Near Major League Baseball Stadiums)

If you’re looking for beers made by brewers who do fit the craft definition, keep an eye out for the new independent craft brewer seal. The logo  — an upside-down beer bottle — takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out if a beer is brewed by a craft brewery. More than 3,100 U.S. breweries have signed on to license the logo, and you’re beginning to see it on packaging, beer labels, inside taprooms, on t-shirts and other merchandise. When you see the seal, snap a photo and add it to Instagram with the #seektheseal hashtag. Our editors are looking to feature your seal pictures.

CraftBeer.com is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on CraftBeer.com do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.