It's three wheels, no waiting for beer lovers at 10 NFL stadiums this season. (Courtesy Aramark)
Aramark’s new beer cycle program this season brings draft beer to the people at the 10 NFL stadiums where the vendor runs concessions.
The beer bicycles, branded for each team and their malt beverage sponsor, are the latest example of mobile innovation. For Aramark, they’re the next step beyond traditional portable carts, food trucks and tuk-tuks, the motorized three-wheelers that made their debut last season serving Jane Dough dessert treats at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
On their own, the beer cycles provide a flexible way to relieve congestion at permanent concession stands on the concourses, Aramark spokesman Dave Freireich said.
Created in-house by Aramark’s design and development group, each bike carries three half-kegs in a large box attached to the vehicle. Two concessions workers will operate the bikes to ride them, pour beer and accept payment on a point-of-sale tablet. On game days, depending on the market, some bikes will start outside the stadiums and work their way into the venues.
“Each venue has a pre-determined route,” said Danielle Lazor, vice president of design and development for Aramark Sports and Entertainment. “There will be peak periods during the game (such as halftime) when the bikes will remain stationary. The idea is to get to the nooks and crannies that are underserved. As fans become more social, they’re migrating to different places in the venue. We’re trying to address that and serve those needs.”
Social media is a key piece of the beer bike program. As a fun way of activation, Aramark created the Tour de Taps competition, a spin on the Tour de France bike race. At each NFL stadium, fans are encouraged to take pictures of themselves with the beer cycles and post them on social media channels with the appropriate hashtags. As part of the seasonlong promotion, Aramark will provide updates on the competition to the finish line, Lazor said.
“It’s about getting smart about piloting innovation and scaling it from the start,” she said. “That’s why we wanted to do the whole fleet [covering all 10 stadiums] so we can really get some good feedback and messaging around it.”
The beer bikes at eight of the 10 stadiums carry Anheuser-Busch products per the teams’ marketing deals. The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings both have deals with MillerCoors, and the bikes at Soldier Field and U.S. Bank Stadium will reflect those partnerships. At all 10 stadiums, Aramark has the ability to adjust the selections based on fan feedback, Lazor said.
The eight other NFL teams with beer bikes are the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.
Aramark first tested the beer cycle concept outside the Field Museum in Chicago, which sits next to Soldier Field. Positive feedback was “off the charts,” Lazor said, which resulted in the concessionaire pedaling the concept to sports facilities. The vendor expects to roll out more beer bikes at its NBA and NHL arenas later this fall.
“We’re continuing to adapt the model to meet the ever-changing demand,” she said. “From Aramark, you’ll see a big surge in mobile innovation.”