Why He’s Interesting: He might not look familiar, but his voice is unmistakable. Walking up and down the aisles at Cleveland sporting events, he announces his presence with a booming voice, yelling, “Not the tax guy! Not the mail guy! It’s the beer guy!”
Longevity is Key: Flake started out at Cleveland Stadium in 1974 while in high school. “I’ve been doing it now almost 50 years.”
Branching Out: At the end of 2019, Flake became the face of Cold Beer Here, a light lager from the Jolly Scholar on the campus at Case Western Reserve University. “They let me taste-test some of it,” he says. “It’s a really hard job.” With the closing of all the sports venues the following spring, Flake was itching to get out, so he set up a delivery service with the Jolly Scholar, coming up people’s driveways with his familiar greeting. It was as much fun for him as it was for the customers.
Beer is for Winners: As snakebit as Cleveland teams have been, it’s easy to imagine fans crying in their beers. But Flake says just the opposite is true: “You do well when they’re winning.” When he started out, beer options were limited at the ballpark. Now, there’s a beer garden at Progressive Field featuring a variety of local craft brewers. “I never thought craft beer would sell like it did at a ballgame.”
His Reputation Precedes Him: As a venerable vendor in Cleveland, he can sometimes pick up work at out-of-town venues. He’s even worked a Kentucky Derby, and he says there’s nothing like it. “It was just amazing. The hats, the glamor, the atmosphere, it’s like Mardi Gras. That has to be the best event I ever worked.”
Interesting Fact: Flake was at Cleveland Stadium for the infamous 10-cent beer night but had no part in the brawl. “I was still in high school. I was selling foot-long hot dogs.”