Tasty beer, delicious fare, good company and a relaxing atmosphere paired with some exciting hockey can make for the perfect night.
And that’s why a select number of VIP Season Ticket Holders with access to The Red Line Lounge in Nationwide Arena were invited to a private craft beer tasting before the Blue Jackets game on Saturday, Feb. 13.
A variety of local craft beers including selections from Land-Grant Brewing Company, Elevator Brewing Company and Rhinegeist Brewery were available in addition to beverages and snacks like pretzel necklaces that paired well with the beers.
“Our Red Line Lounge clients are some of our best clients and longest tenured, so we wanted an opportunity to not only allow them to come enjoy the lounge before a game, but to also experience some of the local craft beers - and with Rhinegeist, Land-Grant and Elevator, those are three great local breweries,” said Kelly Jones, the Blue Jackets' director of service and retention.
“This was a great way to partner with the breweries and allow the season ticket holders to come to the arena a little early,
relax, enjoy some beer and chat with all the Blue Jackets staff here that are happy to see them out for a game and excited for another night of hockey.”
Season ticket holder Mike Sergakis attended the event with his wife and friends, and chatted about all of the different beers he tasted. He said that when his season ticket service coordinator, Carmelo Marzullo, invited him to the event, he was interested because it was an exclusive event that featured a beer tasting.
“It’s very nice and we feel very privileged that (Marzullo) would invite us,” Sergakis said. "It’s like a private party to end all parties. We’ve been season ticket holders since day one. We’ve seen a lot of different, interesting programs and this is probably one of the best.”
Every season ticket holder in attendance was given a custom beer tasting glass to try the beers, and had the opportunity to mingle with other season ticket holders as well as Blue Jackets staff members, brew masters and brewery representatives.
Vic Schiltz, brewmaster for Elevator Brewing Company, said one benefit of the tasting was being able to interact with season ticket holders and discuss the beers with them.
“They’re more inclined to taste it if I actually talk to them about it instead of just picking up a six-pack at the store,” Schiltz said. “If they actually see it and I talk about it… we can sort of guide them to what we think they might like instead of them picking a random beer.”
Another brewery in attendance, Land-Grant, was showcasing its exclusive beer that can only be found inside Nationwide Arena.
“This is our first year having beer in the arena, and we’ve been lucky enough to partner with the arena on the special brew ‘Goon,’” Walt Keys, Creative Director and one of the owners of Land-Grant, said. “So when they asked us to come out and pour some beer, obviously we jumped at the opportunity because it’s been a great venue for us to get our beer out there and get our name out there. We’re just happy to be here.”
Tom Booth, GM of Delaware North at Nationwide Arena, said he enjoys events such as this one because it provides an opportunity to showcase some of the unique events that take place inside the arena.
“We use it as a benefit for the season ticket holders to show them some of the other things we do within the arena," Booth said. "We like to promote local businesses and the craft breweries nearby. We really like doing this."
“This event is great,” said Mike Rutter, Columbus Distribution Director for Rhinegeist Brewery. “The Blue Jackets and Delaware North have been a great partner for us, so when they asked us if we want to be a part of the event, we were more than happy to come and talk about beer and hockey. That’s a pretty good night right there, so you can’t beat that.”