Free beer back at Busch Gar­dens

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

Busch Gar­dens is toast­ing its up­com­ing 60th an­niver­sary in 2019 by giv­ing two free beers to all vis­i­tors, a re­turn to the park’s roots as a ve­hi­cle to pro­mote for­mer owner An­heuser-Busch.

The Tampa, Fla., theme park an­nounced the deal re­cently. The park’s passh­old­ers have been able to belly up to the bar early, get­ting two free sam­ples dur­ing Oc­to­ber at the Gar­den Gate Cafe or Serengeti Over­look Pub. The perk pro­motes the park’s new An­nual Pass pro­gram with four tiers.

The Tampa park opened in 1959 with a Hos­pi­tal­ity House that gave out sam­ples of An­heuser-Busch prod­ucts. The free­bies came to an end in 2009 af­ter the Black­stone Group bought SeaWorld and Busch Gar­dens.

A sum­mer pro­mo­tion brought the free beer back this year, and Busch Gar­dens re­ported a rise in at­ten­dance. An­a­lysts cred­ited the com­pany’s im­proved for­tunes, in part, to the free 7-ounce beers.

The park also rolled out a new four-tiered passh­older sys­tem that of­fers more perks at each price point. The en­try-level Bronze Pass, for ex­am­ple, re­flects a drop in price from 2018’s An­nual Pass at $119 (or $9.99 a month in the park’s EZPay plan). This tier has black­out dates, but there are dis­counts for park­ing, din­ing and shop­ping. The price is ex­pected to go up af­ter Nov. 30.

Busch Gar­dens will be hold­ing com­mem­o­ra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties to cel­e­brate its 60th in 2019 and will open Ti­gris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster, in the spring.

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