Same setup as last year. At least so far it's not Bud Light.
While I have no insight into BGW contacts, many times large venues (I'm more familiar with hotels) negotiate deals with distributors that, many times, grants exclusivity. Coke is an example...they can't carry Pepsi products under the contract. So, in regards to beer, they may be limited in offerings only available thru the distributor(s).
This I can clarify. When AB owned Busch there was an exclusivity agreement. They were only permitted to sell AB products. In fact there were strict rules about how long products could be kept past their born on date.However that doesn't quite work with the beers being offered - AB-Inbev's distributors won't touch MillerCoors products, yet the park obviously has both.
There may also be some legal concernss with tied house laws though honestly I don't see that as much of an issue considering Busch only sold their products at their park when they owned it, I think that since they likely used an outside distributor to truck kegs over from across the street it wasn't against VA's beer laws at the time. Of course, I'm not a legal expert so take c that as you will.
As far as I'm aware there is no law in VA stating that you can't have exclusivity with a brewery. I think for BGW they enjoy the freedom of selling the wide variety of craft beer they currently sell.
Some quick searching shows that section 4.1-111, section B, item 3 of the code of Virgina states that (paraphrasing) the ABC board shall regulate that alcohol producers and distributors cannot have any control in retailer decisions in accordance to section 4.1-216 which states more in depth the definitions of control including that no manufacturer or distributor can hold any financial interest in a retailer without an exception by the board.
So given all that, and assuming my interpretation is good, it sounds like BGW had an exemption that may have expired when ownership changed.
But otherwise, the tied-house laws are designed to prevent exclusivity agreements between the manufacturers and retailers as a way to prevent the social and moral ills associated with alcohol consumption. We can thank Prohibition for that.
Back on topic - if they're doing Blue Moon, you think they'd pull out a Leinenkugel?
Yes you are correct. But if BGW only wanted to buy from one distributor there is nothing in the law disallowing that. Just laws that disallow the brewery or distributor from controlling a retailer.As I mentioned, I'm not a legal expert so my interpretation saw that the law is meant to curb a retailer from being controlled by either a producer or distributor... Which somehow is linked back to Prohibition era thinking that this kind of control causes more issues with alcohol consumption. That last part I got from an amendment document when I just searched for Virginia tied house laws.
Otherwise, the times are a changing so maybe something somewhere else changed to allow free samples above 2 oz like you'd see at a bar? Or the local ABC enforcement officers are turning a blind eye since it'd be up to them to interpret the current law and do anything about it.