Thursday, November 20, 2008

Busch Gardens for sale? That's bad news.

Busch Gardens rocks in part because the Busch family was personally involved, pouring millions back into the parks (they bought SeaWorld in the 90s).

Now that Anheuser-Busch is simply one more cog in the global machine that is InBev, the Busch family only has one seat on the board, and rumors are swirling that InBev is thinking about casting the parks aside; they need money to pay back the significant debt they took on in buying Anheuser-Busch in the first place.

Will new owners reinvest profit into the parks like the Busch family did? Or will they become just another business, more concerned about fattening the bank accounts of their investors than providing an exceptional experience to park goers?

A smaller, yet burning, question is this: will there still be free beer at Busch Gardens?

Goofing aside, this actually bums me out. I love Busch Gardens - it's my favorite amusement park and it has the best roller coasters. And you can get guys to go with you, due to the terrorizing SheiKra (now floorless!) and aforementioned free beer.

SeaWorld was on a slow dip into obscurity until Busch Entertainment Corporation bought it. They cleaned it back up and invested money, bringing on new attractions (and a new, related park, Aquatica). Not to mention - free beer.

And all of Busch Entertainment parks recently implemented some seriously green initiatives, like only purchasing fish (for animals and guests) from sustainable fisheries, switching to biodegradable plates, forks, knives and spoons, even removing recyclable materials from trash by hand. Not only green, but probably expensive - will the parks' new owners give a damn about the environment? Or the well-being of the animals?

As a beer enthusiast, I was already concerned about the InBev deal, and what it would mean for not only the beer, but the breweries located throughout the nation, including Jacksonville. As a park-goer, I'm seeing an even gloomier future.

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