Packerland Pilsner is a
Packers-themed beer available at Discount Liquor.
Charles Auer/ Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA — While many fans may live and die in a figurative
fashion with the fortunes of the Green Bay Packers, that is also
true in a slightly more literal sense for business across the
state, especially as the team marches through the playoffs.
“It’s definitely good for business. It carries us through
January with weekend parties. Business is brisk,” said Michael
Greguska of Discount Liquor in Waukesha. “We don’t track it but
I guess a surge in sales would probably be the best way to
explain the Packers phenomenon. ... We always hope that they go
all the way because I think it’s good for everybody’s business.
The food, the take-out, the grocery stores, everybody benefits
from Packer parties.”
That phenomenon is so pronounced that Dave Neville, vice
president of Beer Capitol Distributing in Sussex, compared it to
the Fourth of July and Christmas in terms of sales generated.
Whether people are drinking MillerCoors products at home parties
or in any establishment, it likely passed through Beer Capitol’s
hands on the way to the consumer, so “if they’re busy, we’re
busy,” he said.
And being a MillerCoors distributor, with
the brewer a major sponsor of the Packers, that offers tie-ins
and advertising in the stadium, on TV and radio and in
promotions directly with the team. As such, planning for the
increased activity begins weeks in advance, he said.
“There’s an absolute spike in business with
the Green Bay Packers, more so than any other sports franchise
in the state for us, and it reaches a fever pitch as you get to
the playoffs and it goes to a higher level with each game,”
“This week will be busier than last week,
and if they win this week, the Super Bowl will be busier than
this week. We find that the team spirit transcends down to the
consumer and they want to enjoy this event with other
At Legends of the Field, a sports
collectible store in Delafield and Greenfield, manager Nick
Lantz said the success of the Packers makes a “big time”
difference for the bottom line.
“There’s people that are going to purchase
with us that are just Packers fanatics whether they go 0-16 or
win the Super Bowl,” he said. “They are just collectors. But
what you get this time of year is people who get caught up in
it, all the hype, the extra radio and TV spots, there’s a lot of
People seem to be after “anything they can
get their hands on,” Lantz said. He added that although certain
Packers players like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Jordy
Nelson are the biggest draws in terms of memorabilia, fan
interest also can surge for other players depending on their
recent performances, such as Davante Adams, the rookie wide
receiver who had a stellar game last Sunday and is “real hot”
regarding demand this week.
Karen Greguska and her brother
Matt work in the beer section of Discount Liquor
Thursday afternoon. The Packers’ playoff run has
meant better business for many local businesses.
Charles Auer/ Freeman Staff
The Packers buzz isn’t a
short-term thing, either.
“When they won Super Bowl XLV, it gave us an
extra 18-month, two-year surge,” Lantz said. “There’s enough
Packers fans around the United States we stay incredibly busy
year-round. The playoff run kind of takes it to another level.
“And the Packers, since they have such a
storied franchise, when the current Packers do well, we see a
spike in Lombardi-era memorabilia too. That’s the beauty of
having a team be so good so long, is that different generations
and eras sell well. ... There’s still people today looking for
Super Bowl XXXI stuff.”
in the cold?
But it’s not all beer and roses for every
business. Ed Lump, CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association,
said restaurants located near or on the way to or from Lambeau
Field will see increased traffic on game days, but that’s often
not the case for many other restaurants.
“Generally speaking, the Packer game itself,
the world stops when it’s going on, so it doesn’t have much of a
positive effect,” he said.
“There are some places, sports bars for
instance, and some kinds of taverns that may double as sports
bars too, they may do good business because they’ve got a setup
for TVs and people will go there for the social experience with
friends and something like that, but there will also be some
Lump predicted that if the Packers advance
to Super Bowl XLIX next month, one will find more restaurants
closed or closing early. Some of them, though, might make a go
of it by taking a New Year’s Eve approach — selling a package
for dinner, drinks, and other promotions.
But there are the intangible things, too: A
winning Packers team will make people want to come see Lambeau
Field or the Packers Hall of Fame, even in the offseason.
“You can’t put a dollar on it immediately,
but down the road it adds to the business of the state,” Lump
said. “So overall the Packers are obviously a positive force for
the state of Wisconsin in many ways, but on a particular day
maybe not so much.”
Jerry Arenas can relate. The owner of
Palmer’s Steakhouse in Hartland, he said the restaurant hasn’t
been open the last several years for the Super Bowl, and the
last couple times the Packers were in the championship game they
decided to close because business was slow.
The business often feels the impact when the
Packers play a late or night game, he said.
“The bigger approach we looked at is it’s
going to be an OK day for us, not a great day, and we thought it
was in the best interest for us to let our staff enjoy the
game,” Arenas said.
“But there’s definitely an impact on our
business when the Packers play night games or 3 o’clock games,
so that made it easier to make this decision.”
And victories often taste even better the
next day anyway.