I was the 33rd last person to receive free beer at Busch Gardens.
The newspapers have been talking about it and so have the guests. It seemed that people have linked the end of all days to the end of free beer at Busch Gardens.
Months ago, it was announced to the world that InBev had bought Anheuser-Busch– the biggest American beer manufacturer. Employees of Busch Gardens, part of the entertainment branch of Anheuser-Busch, freaked out. So far, the future of the theme parks appear safe, and employees have no reason to start learning their way between Epcot and Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, some changes still had to be made because of the new owners.
The biggest change came with the announcement that Busch Gardens and Seaworld would no longer give away the two free beers to its guests. Editorials counted down the days until this treasured freebie would die.
But January 25 still had to come.
With two hours until Busch Gardens closed for the day, I hauled my butt to the park with the one hope that I would be among the last people in BGT history to get the free beer. This was a theme park milestone about to happen and I wanted in. I tried to get into the last free beer school tour, but it was totally full. Nothing was left for me to do except wait until the bar closed at 6 pm.
As the minutes tinkled on, I noticed more employees and guests piling into the Hospitality House– the place of the free beer. Judging from the small number of people getting in line, I caved in at 5:59 and went in. As soon as I received my Shock-Top Belgian White (which tasted a lot like every beer I’ve tasted) I counted the crowd that got in line after me. In the end, 32 people each took some beer before a manager put the velvet ropes up. When the very last man received his cup, the room cheered and toasted their beer. The man held up his drink and took a gulp. That was the end of free beer at the Busch parks.
Tomorrow, the rides and animals at Busch Gardens will go with their lives with no difference, but the Hospitality House bar will sit silent. I wasn’t the last person to receive the free beer– and that was probably good because every beer tastes the same to me– but I was the 33rd last. And I DID set a Busch Gardens history moment. I was the very last person in Busch Gardens history to get the last half-cup of beer. All 32 people behind me wanted full cups.