Still no local craft beer on tap at new Mosaic Stadium

With the Saskatchewan Roughriders set to officially open up their new stadium on Saturday, fans hoping to christen the new stadium while sipping on locally brewed beer will have to wait.

Negotiations continue between craft brewers and stadium partners

The Saskatchewan Craft Brewers Association is still optimistic local beers will be an offering in the stadium sometime this season. (Mike Zartler)

With the Saskatchewan Roughriders set to officially open their new stadium on Saturday, fans hoping for a chance to sip on locally brewed beer inside the new digs will have to wait.

Since March, there's been talk that the Saskatchewan Craft Brewers Association was working on a deal to find craft beer brewers a spot inside the new Mosaic Stadium.

Currently, stadium founding partner Molson Coors has exclusive rights to sell beer at events.

There was renewed optimism among craft brewers and fans in May as the stadium was being prepared for its second test event, the Regina Rocks concert.

At the time, the SCBA released a statement saying they hoped to be "in full force" offering local beers at the event.

Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL), which operates Evraz Place — home to the new stadium — said craft beer options were indeed being explored.

SCBA director-at-large Grant Frew and the Roughriders both say craft beer talks are ongoing. (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

But since then, both Regina Rocks and the Riders first preseason game have come and gone, and still no sign of Saskatchewan suds inside the stadium.

Grant Frew, the SCBA's director-at-large, confirmed that will be the case again on Saturday, when the Riders officially christen the new stadium in a match against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Negotiations continue

Frew said the SCBA's goal now is to work out a deal to get craft vendors inside the stadium sometime this season.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to be on that stage and share the wonderful products that are being produced by Saskatchewan breweries with people all across the nation," he said.

"We want to continue to work in good faith with REAL and Evraz in order to come to a deal that's amicable for everyone involved."

For the time being, Molson Coors has the exclusive rights to beer sales in Mosaic Stadium. (Glenn Reid/CBC)

Frew wouldn't go into detail about the negotiations, or what exactly craft brewers are hoping for inside the stadium.

But he said the brewers association recently submitted a proposal to the Roughriders et al., who then sent a counter-proposal. That offer still needs to be discussed by the SCBA, Frew said.

CBC reached out to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for comment. The team declined, but did provide a statement, saying "expect there to be a further update soon."

"The City of Regina, Evraz Place (REAL), and Saskatchewan Roughriders are still in discussions with the Saskatchewan Craft Brewers Association as to options for craft beer in Mosaic Stadium and during Rider games," the statement said.

Beer boycott

Logan Smith has decided he's going to boycott beer altogether during home games this season.

The six-time Roughriders season ticket holder said he was looking forward to having a wider variety of beer options when he started hearing rumblings that local craft beer would find a home in the stadium.

Season ticket holder Logan Smith says he'll go without beer at home games this season, hoping his boycott encourages the addition of local beer in the stadium. (Logan Smith)

"As a season ticket holder for many years, we've been through some good and some bad, but we always support the team. The community as a whole supports the team," Smith said.

"I was pretty disappointed that a team that's receiving all of that support basically negotiated the local community right out of the ability to sell beer in the stadium."

Smith admitted he could always be counted on to drink a couple of Molson products while attending games at the old stadium. So how hard will it be to abstain at games this season?

"I think I'll be fine with it," he said.

"If it makes an impact, which I'm definitely hoping it does ... then it's well worth it. Nothing wrong with bringing in a couple of cans of cola, a couple of bottles of water into the stadium with me, and then have a beer when I get home and we're talking about the game with the family."