UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — If you’ve been inside Beaver Stadium this year, you’ll notice the tastes of the Keystone State.
“I think it gives the opportunity for our fans to kind of see and taste some of what’s in the area,” said Penn State Concessions Manager, Eric Ebeling.
This season Penn State went local inside Beaver Stadium with a new initiative to support local restaurants and breweries.
“It’s another opportunity for us to give back to the community by having these companies in here,” Ebeling said. “We do use volunteer groups in our stands right now. As a fundraising opportunity, and this has allowed us to expand that to the businesses as well.”
While there are tastes from varying corners of the state, many of the local restaurants come right out of Centre County.
“They said they wanted to find a local brewery to come in to Beaver Stadium this year,” said Caleb Peachey, the head brew master at Robin Hood Brewing Company. “And we decided on a watermelon beer, which is called Melon Time. It is a juicy watermelon wheat beer, and it’s full of wheat characteristics and has juicy watermelon woven throughout the whole beer. Some people will say kind of tastes like a watermelon jolly rancher.”
Robin Hood Brewing is based in Bellefonte and since its move inside Beaver Stadium, their pub has seen a pickup in business, especially on gameday weekends.
“It’s been great for us because we’re a very small brewing company, so we only produce six kegs at the time,” Peachey said. “So, for us, it took a lot to actually get to where we needed to be capacity wise.”
Pat Romano, the owner of the We Are Inn was able to achieve one of his dreams of bringing Philly Cheesesteaks to Penn State games.
“I have been in the area for quite some time. My fishing and hunting camp had been up here,” said Romano. “So for my entire life I’ve been coming up here and I just turned 55 and there was always times with young people like, oh, let’s go get a cheesesteak, my friends in the area and just a little disappointed. So to be able to bring something from down there, something that we were basically raised on and took for granted out here is really been it’s just been rewarding.”
The We Are Inn has two concession stands in Beaver Stadium and Romano’s staff have stayed busy selling more than 800 Philly Cheesesteaks per game.
“No matter how you look at it, Penn State sort of helps us all survive, especially game weekends and then different things that they have throughout the year, not just athletics, but other things, too,” Romano said. “So, it kind of is a really nice offering for us to come in. And the local people appreciate that right back.”
With the new renovations coming to Beaver Stadium, Romano sees more opportunities to continue bringing local businesses into the stadium.