Casinos Make Changes to Attract Beer Drinkers
From New England to Nevada, casinos are going all in on craft breweries. Once synonymous with whiskey and soda or scotch on the rocks, casinos are becoming places where beer drinkers can pair table games with flavorful ales and lagers. Opening in 2017, the MGM in Springfield, Mass., signed an agreement with Berkshire Brewing Company of South Deerfield, Mass., in November to serve as its “premier regional brewing partner and draft beer provider.” The deal also includes the possibility of offering BBC beers at other MGM properties.
It’s an arrangement similar to the deals struck at gaming establishments across the country. At Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino, guests can visit the Thomas Hooker Test Kitchen for one-off batches of Hooker beer, including a Hefeweizen and a Brown Ale brewed with locally-sourced honey. For the less adventurous, Hooker’s flagship brews are always available on tap.
“[We’ve] really enjoyed working with everyone at Mohegan Sun,” says Hooker president Curt Cameron. “[They’ve] embraced the local craft beer offerings in the race book area and throughout the casino.”
On the Gulf Coast, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, also owned by MGM International, partnered with Crooked Letter Brewing of Ocean Springs, Miss., in February 2014 to create three proprietary brews: Sheep Shank Kölsch, Double Half Hitch Imperial IPA and Anchor Bend Imperial Stout. The Beau Rivage opened in 1999 and was home to Coast Brewing Company, the state’s first microbrewery, which was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
“This partnership means a lot to us,” says Crooked Letter owner Paul Blacksmith. “I still remember sitting down in Coast Brewing with [my wife] Wanda, sipping on their beer, gazing at their tanks and falling in love. I don’t know if I would have ever caught the ‘brewery’ bug if I’d never seen that place.”
Meanwhile, late last year ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas announced a partnership with Sin City Brewing Company to brew an exclusive beer for the resort. Aimed at beer drinkers along with diners looking to pair upscale cuisine with a sessionable ale, Sin City Extra Pale Ale is available at every bar and restaurant on the property. ■