You can have an orange with your ‘craft beer’ at the Masters, but you got to ask

There are no brands at the Masters concession stand, but ask nicely and do a little digging and you can start to figure out what you’re about to consume.

The Masters is notorious for its many quirks and traditions that separate it from a typical sporting event. This is by design. There are rules and regulations that are, by and large, created with the “patrons” (do not call them fans) in mind. One of the tournament’s famous traditions is the concessions stand.

The prices are exceptionally low by modern standards and absolutely nothing provided is loudly labeled with a brand or who produced it. There are some subtler labels if you look closely, but the Masters is the priority. The chips are Masters chips. The cookie is a Masters cookie. The beverages are just cola or craft beer and only come in a Masters labeled cup. The sandwiches, like that pimento cheese you hear all about every year, are made fresh overnight with real-time data about what’s selling and what’s maybe not flying off the shelves. That data is feeding into a nearby production center and they can adjust for the next day on just how much to make or stock for the upcoming tournament days.

By shunning all brands and keeping prices low, Augusta National and the Masters have made a pro forma part of going to a sporting event — the innocuous spot where you get some damn food — a phenomenon that people cherish about the experience.

You can have an orange with your ‘craft beer’ at the Masters, but you got to ask

We know about the low cost. You could fill up for a day on $20. But what exactly are people putting in their bodies? What are these mysterious colas and craft beers? Sometimes you need to dig a little and sometimes you just need to ask.

The cellophane-wrapped snacks are easiest to identify, because most have a small stamp somewhere on the back of the bag. The crackers are Lance. The chips are all Cape Cod. The cookies and brownies are Christie, a company out of Nashville. A weird-ooking neon blue drink that does not look like it would be good to put in your body is just Powerade. All the colas are Coke products. All drinks are already poured and waiting for you on a counter to grab and go in those Masters cups, which people stack and collect all week.

But let’s get to the beer, which everyone is most interested in and, as you’d expect, sells quite well all week. There are four kinds of beer, two domestic beers, one Import beer, and one American craft beer. Here’s your guide for the unmarked alcohol:

  • Domestic — Coors Banquet beer
  • Domestic Light — Miller Lite
  • Import Beer — Stella Artois
  • American Craft Beer — Blue Moon

There is a serving tray of oranges next to the “craft beer” tap, but you need to ask for one. They do not come ready with the orange on the lip of the cup, because that would be too significantly brand identifying. Whether you define Blue Moon as a craft or not, it was a welcome addition to the lineup in 2016.

The beers are also all poured and lined up in advance, ready for you to take and pay. You can only take two at a time and they stop serving at 5 p.m., about two hours before the final groups finish up on the 18th green.

And if you have too many too early and start hurting late in the day after sales are cut off? There’s Advil for 50 cents. That’s the only thing loudly branded. It comes in the usual tearaway foil packaging, because having a bucket of unlabeled pills might be a little unsettling if you’re looking for some ibuprofen on your walk around Augusta National.

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