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Excitement Brewing In The First State

Published: July 23, 2021 2:50 pm ET

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While it may not be the first horse racing venue in North America to have done so, a racetrack in Delaware has recently launched a craft microbrewery on its grounds in an attempt to attract a broader, younger clientele.

Delaware Park opened its 1937 Brewing Co. in late June in the hopes of attracting younger customers to the Stanton, Del., racino. With Delaware having become something of a craft beer hotbed in recent years — Dogfish Head has gained prominence throughout North America and smaller breweries, such as Blue Earl and Mispillion River, dot the First State's industrial parks — the brewery was a logical component of a retrofit of the Delaware Park grandstand's kitchen, which dated to the 1960s.

"That younger crowd is surrounding the bar on weekends, and we also have older couples eating dinner. It's really nice to see," Delaware Park president Bill Fasy said in a recent Delaware News Journal piece.

So far, the brewery has presented another attraction for the younger crowd — who typically gravitate to sports betting rather than racing or slot machines — and can help Delaware Park become a destination for that demographic through the summer months, before football season brings with it a customary influx of sports bettors.

"The 20-somethings are not coming here except to do sports betting, and we need another attraction to keep them here," Fasy said. "When we sat down strategically and looked at our strengths and weaknesses, the young crowd really was a big item."

The nine beers offered by 1937 Brewing Co. — four of them IPAs — are currently only available in the brewery, but soon will be available in the Thoroughbred track's clubhouse and throughout the casino, which shares the grandstand building.

1937 Brewing Co. may be the first microbrewery opened on the grounds of a Delaware racino, but it's not the first time horse racing and craft beer have teamed up. Northfield Park was the pioneer in that field, having operated a microbrewery in its grandstand from 1998 through the 2000s.

(with files from the Delaware News Journal)

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