While Miller Park is already known as a premier destination for baseball fans, each year the Milwaukee Brewers look for new ways to thrill and excite visitors. This year, the Brewers commissioned the most comprehensive renovation in the history of the 16-year-old stadium, investing nearly $20 million to achieve a complete F&B program overhaul.
With the project encompassing all four levels of the ballpark, the Milwaukee Brewers and Delaware North Sportservice partnered to renovate all 25 existing concession stands, build 12 new stands, create 53 new portables, as well as introduce three new feature bars. Constructed in record time over the 2016 off-season and ready for Opening Day 2017, the Food & Beverage Re-Imagination is not only a tribute to Milwaukee’s traditions, culture, and spirit, but also to the Brewers commitment to “cherish their fans”.
A core leadership team of consultants, designers, and operational stakeholders was established in order to conduct an extensive programming process, during which the brand of the Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the facility itself, was studied in depth. This discovery phase included evaluation of concession stand cooking abilities, condition of equipment, quantity of points of sale, as well as type and distribution of food items throughout the building, allowing leadership to understand what was needed to achieve a state-of-the-art program.
In keeping with Wisconsin values, the project was looked at through the lens of reinvention rather than demolition. Both the city of Milwaukee and the Brewers organization have a strong sense of community, heritage, and unassuming pride. The resulting program became authentic, enduring, and celebratory of the city and the team.
The concession menu draws on Milwaukee’s rich food traditions and burgeoning restaurant scene to expand beyond the typical ballpark fare. Many of those items have ties to Wisconsin culinary tradition, including Mac and Cheese, Frozen Custard, Cheese Curds, plus Tacos and a new line of All-Natural Klement’s Sausages. The team was able to strengthen their connections with local businesses, such as Hospitality Democracy’s AJ Bombers, Smoke Shack, and Holey Moley Donuts.
In addition to increasing the variety and quantity of beer offerings from the ballpark’s namesake partner, Miller Brewing, the beverage program was boosted with the addition of three bars to provide additional offerings that were previously limited or unavailable. The two Field Level bars created an expanded cocktail program, featuring the traditional Wisconsin “Old Fashioned”, utilizing local distilleries. The “Local Brews” bar on the Loge Level brings 24 draft beers from all over the state of Wisconsin, paying homage to the unique spirit and history of brewing in Milwaukee.
Throughout the ideation phase, leadership strived to ensure that the physical translation of the Milwaukee Brewers brand was successful and authentic. The majesty of the original exterior construction and industrial soul of the city was brought inward where it should have been all along. By bringing the exterior materials onto the interior façades of concession stands, and using a historic local practice of painting advertisements directly on the brick, the resulting concept was something eye catching, familiar, and directive. Fans now could tell immediately what was available from a greater distance, which allowed for more efficient queuing and faster service (especially with 33% additional points of sale).
The Field Level concourses were opened up by removing a central concession stand and creating a panoramic effect, while the unique rebranding identity was implemented on each stand across all seating levels of the ballpark. The feature bars playfully bring a sense of home to fans, spelling out the lyrics to the 7th inning stretch song “Roll out the Barrel”.
Each color and material selected connects the program to the Brewers brand and exhibits the club’s and fan’s love for their city. The entire endeavor is another extraordinary enhancement to the Miller Park experience and the cherry on a frozen custard sundae.
Key Project Participants:
TEAM/VENUE: Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club/Miller Park
FOODSERVICE PARTNER: Delaware North
ARCHITECT: Uihlein/Wilson Architects
HOSPITALITY CONSULTANT: Howard and Sergi
GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Sam Cooper Design
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Hunzinger Construction