After nearly a 10-year drought, Busch Gardens is once again going to offer free beer to visitors, at least for the summer.
On Monday, the park announced that beginning Tuesday through Aug. 5, visitors can get two free 7-ounce beers from a rotating list of brews. Calling it a return to its roots, the park also unveiled a club for craft beer fans and a new Oktoberfest-themed festival.
For 50 years, free beer was a Busch Gardens signature. The Tampa park opened in 1959 as a marketing vehicle for former owner Anheuser-Busch, and the park’s Hospitality House gave out samples of Anheuser-Busch products. Employees were allowed two cases of free Budweiser beer per month.
But after the Blackstone Group bought SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, the park announced in 2009 that the pavilion would be converted to a restaurant with no more freebies. There was a brief reprieve in 2013 when park passholders could get free beers.
The announcement came in the park’s new Brew Club set in the Serengeti Overlook Pub located next to the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster. Clark presented the club’s first beer stein to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who quipped, “An Irish guy with a glass of beer, imagine that.”