The Charlotte Bobcats are installing a craft beer garden in the upper level of Time Warner Cable Arena, hoping to capitalize on a surging interest in the good stuff across the state.
“We are constantly looking at ways we can enhance our fan experience and amenities within the arena,” team president Fred Whitfield said. “This concept seemed like one that made a lot of sense, especially with the craft beer business in North Carolina and the popularity of craft beer brands overall.”
The beer garden will replace the “Flight Deck” food court on the north side of the arena. It will feature between 16 and 18 taps along with tables, chairs and televisions. You won’t be able to catch the game from there, but team officials hope it will become a frequent hang-out spot.
“We envision it more as a destination,” said Pete Guelli, the team’s executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer.
The Bobcats have had craft beer in the arena on occasion, but never in the volume the team is planning now. And it comes at a good time in the Charlotte craft beer scene.
Mecklenburg County had seven independent breweries at last count, up from two or three just a few years ago – and more are on the way. Statewide, North Carolina has more than 85 craft breweries and brewpubs, the most of any state between Texas and Pennsylvania.
The craft beer garden is expected to debut at the Bobcats’ home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 1 and will be open at all arena events. The team will host a grand opening for the garden during the team’s Nov. 8 game against the New York Knicks.
Pricing will be $8 for a 16-ounce beer and $10 for 20 ounces. That compares with about $6.50 and $7.75 for your Bud Light-type brews.