Milwaukee Brewers fans will once again be cut off after the seventh inning.
The Brewers announced Monday that alcohol sales will halt at the conclusion of the seventh inning of home games, reversing course on an April decision to extend the sales window through the eighth inning. The stated reason for the reversal is not over-served fans but lagging late-game sales.
The Brewers were one of five teams, alongside the Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, to extend alcohol sales this season past the traditional cutoff of the seventh inning. The seventh-inning policy isn't mandated by MLB but was the norm across most ballparks.
With the newly adopted pitch clock cutting roughly 26 minutes off games times — and, by extension, time to sell booze — some teams sought avenues to recoup lost concession sales by extending the sales window an extra inning.
Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes told MLB.com on Monday that the eighth-inning alcohol sales didn't warrant the extended window. He also said the team didn't see any serious behavior issues due to the extended sales.
“We’ve got two homestands under our belts and there have not been any serious issues with general behavior related to the extended sales,” Barnes said. “But what we’ve found is that the amount of time we’ve extended it by averages it out to 15 minutes extra.
"Because it’s late in the game, the sale of alcohol and all concessions drops off a cliff once you get to the eighth inning. The amount of sales we were experiencing was just not significant.”
The initial decision drew criticism that extended sales might increase the risk of alcohol-related incidents and encourage fans to drive home from stadiums while intoxicated. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm voiced those concerns in April on the "Baseball isn't Boring" podcast.
"The reason we stopped [selling alcohol in] the seventh before was to give our fans time to sober up and drive home safe, correct?" Strahm said. "So now with a faster-pace game — and me just being a man of common sense — if the game is going to finish quicker, would we not move the beer sales back to the sixth inning to give our fans time to sober up and drive home?
"Instead, we're going to the eighth, and now you're putting our fans and our family at risk, driving home with people who have just drank beers 22 minutes ago."
No other teams that extended beer sales have addressed the impact on sales or otherwise since implementing the change.