Big-league baseball teams are hitting the hard stuff. After years of sponsorship from beer companies, five ball clubs this year have teamed up with liquor brands. The spirit of choice: tequila, which saw the biggest sales jump among spirits between 2001 and 2010. “Lots of people think of beer and hot days together, but we have a lot of fans who are interested in spirits,” an Atlanta Braves rep tells MarketWatch. “And for female fans, we can offer margaritas.”
The troubled economy is one reason for the shift, says an analyst. It’s caused companies to “re-evaluate their stance on a wide range of categories ranging from lotteries to spirits.” What’s more, the cultural climate has made it more socially acceptable to serve hard liquor at events like ballgames, MarketWatch notes. But the teams themselves aren’t the driving factor in these deals, say insiders: Instead, it’s the distillers, with “lots of money to spend,” who are taking the initiative. “This was not an opportunity we sought but rather one that came to us,” notes a Dodgers rep.