The new bar on the upper concourse at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee serves products from Door County Distillery and Door Peninsula Winery. (Courtesy Milwaukee Bucks)
Fiserv Forum now features homegrown wine and spirits after the Milwaukee Bucks recently signed a deal with a regional company.
The three-year sponsorship with Door County Distillery and Door Peninsula Winery gives Wisconsin’s largest wine producer a presence in the NBA arena’s upper concourse. Levy, the Bucks’ food provider, runs the branded bar, which is part of the South Side Marketplace, a showcase for local food and drink items.
The Door County Distillery Bar opened in late November at the arena, which had its first ticketed event in early September. Drink items include cherry mimosas, blackberry Merlot, strawberry Zinfandel and craft cocktails made with Door County gin, vodka, rum and cherry brandy.
The wine and spirits maker is situated in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., about 170 miles north of Milwaukee. The company has been making wine since 1974 and added spirits to the mix in 2011, said its marketing director, Beth Levendusky. Door County operates both wholesale and retail and its products reach across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota.
Door County contacted the Bucks about partnering at Fiserv Forum. The two parties recognized it was a good fit, Levendusky said, because they share a vision for keeping the spirit of Wisconsin alive at the arena through locally sourced products.
In addition, Door County was searching for a new audience in sports and entertainment. The company previously sold spirits at concession stands and premium spaces at Lambeau Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, but ended the partnership after three years.
“The Packers were moving in a different direction,” Levendusky said. “They’re developing Titletown (a mixed-use project) and growing a little faster than we wanted to go. We’ve got more of a narrow focus. With the Bucks, we’re both on the same page. Our branding, the whole look and feel of the bar, is simplistic and rustic.”
Door County’s local distributor supplies its products to Levy, which in turn chooses the wines and spirits to serve for Bucks games, concerts and other events. The focus is mostly on wine, since the Bucks have an exclusive deal with Jack Daniel’s in the spirits category, said Matt Pazaras, the team’s senior vice president of business development and strategy.
The agreement with Door County Distillery and Door Peninsula Winery extends to the sports bar that the Bucks and Levy plan to open in the entertainment district across the street from Fiserv Forum, Pazaras said. It’s expected to open sometime in the first quarter of 2019.