No Bud for you at fairgrounds
Budweiser fans will have to find a different brand of beer at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds again this year. The fair has turned down a local wholesaler's proposal to sell Budweiser products on the grounds.
Budweiser fans will have to find a different brand of beer at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds again this year.
The fair has turned down a local wholesaler's proposal to sell Budweiser products on the grounds. D-S Beverages, a local Anheuser-Busch distributor, also offered to buy $5,000 worth of advertising.
Company President Doug Restemayer said he's disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
"I just had a feeling that might be the way things would go, based on prior discussions with board members," Restemayer said.
Beverage Wholesalers, a local distributor of Miller and other alcoholic beverages, is in the fourth and final year of a sponsorship agreement with the fair. It paid the fair $60,000 this year.
The company offers Miller, Miller Genuine Draft and Leinenkugel's on tap at the fairgrounds, said Tim Quam, who works in sales for Wholesale Beverages.
Fair manager John Pitz said it wouldn't be fair to start selling products that directly compete with Miller when the sponsorship amounts are lopsided, though nothing in the contract prevents the fair from doing so.
Restemayer told board members at a recent meeting that some people don't come to the fairgrounds because they lack beer choices. He pitched selling Budweiser products as a way to show people a new era at the fair.
The fair's nine-member governing board opted in December not to renew15-year manager Bruce Olson's contract. Pitz, who previously worked at fairs in Wyoming and Idaho, started in April.
The two-page agreement with Beverage Wholesalers does not say the contract is exclusive. One page lists a four-year payment schedule totaling $220,000. The other lists the fair association's responsibility for advertisements, signs and tickets.
Fair board President Kyle Anderson said at the meeting the fair is also selling Mike's Hard Lemonade, a malt beverage distributed by Bergseth Brothers.
He tried to stay out of the issue because he deals with Budweiser in his job at Newman Outdoor Advertising.
Restemayer and Setter said D-S Beverages sought an agreement with the fair several years ago, but Olson wouldn't meet with them.
Pitz said beverage distributors other than Miller may have a shot next year.
"Next year, I plan to send out RFPs (requests for proposals) and see what comes out of the woodwork," he said.
Restemayer said his firm will probably put in bids to advertise and hopes the fair will sell Budweiser next year.
"We were hoping they'd be able to do that this year, but I guess that's not going to be the case," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556