A Winning Partnership Between a Local Brewery and the Home Team

Published on : 8/17/23
  • Leading all of Minor League Baseball in attendance since 2021, the Nashville Sounds give nearly half a million fans a best-in-class dining experience every season. Nothing goes better with Nashville-inspired eats than an ice-cold beer, and the Sounds take advantage of Music City's thriving brewery scene to offer the best at every home game.

    TailGate Brewery opened their fifth taproom and Nashville's first craft seltzery next to First Horizon Park, and Sodexo Live! General Manager Buddy Richardson saw the opportunity to add one of their most unique offerings to the Sounds' lineup. Their Pink Lemonade Shandy, bright pink with a taste of fresh-squeezed lemon in every sip, sounded like a home run. "People are looking for something a little sweeter, a little lighter, something that's just not quite as intense as an IPA," said Richardson. "We talked them into putting it in draft, and during the 2021 season, we were the only place you could get TailGate Pink Lemonade Shandy outside of their breweries." Thanks to the overwhelming response from fans, the unique brew, now known as Sounds Pink Lemonade Shandy, is now available throughout Tennessee.  

    We spoke with Ryan Bruchey, Director of Operations at TailGate, about the brewery and their partnership with Sodexo Live! and the Sounds.

    Interviewer: Tell us about Tailgate Brewery.

    Bruchey: Our mission to be the best brewery in Tennessee is centered around our values of people, products, and service. TailGate started brewing in 2014. Since then, we have grown from a three-barrel system to having 30 house-brewed beers on tap at each of our six taprooms in Nashville and Chattanooga. Fans can also find our beer in local bars and stores across the state. 

    Interviewer: Talk about your mission to be a great place to work. Why is that a priority?

    Bruchey: TailGate Brewery thrives because of our dedicated and hardworking team, who contributes their time, ideas, and effort to the success of our brewery. We offer 100% company-paid health benefits, 401(k) match, and so much more, and we regularly audit our wages to ensure they're the best in our industry. Our team voted us a 2023 Top Workplace, and we're grateful to be recognized. 

    Interviewer: Why do you think there's such a connection between beer and baseball?

    Bruchey: We love bringing people together, and baseball games are the perfect opportunity. Bringing people together is a value we share with Sodexo Live! and the Sounds.

    Interviewer: How did your partnership with Sodexo Live! change the direction you were taking the Pink Lemonade Shandy?

    Bruchey: A large part of the growth of that beer has been thanks to its popularity within the ballpark, and it's launched Pink Lemonade Shandy to being one of Nashville's favorite summer seasonal craft beers. Each year it's increased in volume and popularity—at the stadium, in our taprooms, and out in the market. As our relationship with the Sounds evolved, we decided to brand it as a collaboration to bring more awareness to our partnership. It helps that it's the perfect beer for a summer day at the ballpark! 

    Interviewer: How has the relationship with Sodexo Live! impacted your business?

    Bruchey: We've loved our partnership! It's great for exposure for our brand, and we've loved being able to sell beer in the stadium since it opened. We just opened our Germantown taproom adjacent to the ballpark, and building that relationship with Sodexo Live! over the years has been so helpful to a great start for that location. Sodexo Live! General Manager Buddy is one of our favorite operators in town. He makes it clear that we're a partner and not simply a supplier. He's collaborative, shares feedback on our products that he learns from guests around the park, and helps us liaise with the front office Sounds team to help meet their marketing and brand goals, ensuring that TailGate is well represented. 

    Interviewer: What's next for the brewery?

    Bruchey: More great beer and more growth!