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Checking in With Safeco's Tweeting Beer Vendor

Kevin Zelko made headlines last month when he launched @msbeervendor, a Twitter account that lets followers place beer orders via tweet during Mariners games. We thought we'd check in to see how business has been now that the hype has died down. Zelko, 36, who works by day as a special education teacher, is also selling @Msbeervendor t-shirts (or for ladies, @Ms.beervendor) for people who want to commemorate their Twitter beer-buying experience. All proceeds from the shirts go to relief group 100 For Haiti.

Zelko is off for this week's series against the Rangers, but he'll be back in action for Friday's game against the White Sox. Meanwhile, read on for his thoughts on his first month as a Twitter sensation.

So, how has the first month been?

It’s a lot of fun, but it’s been hard. There have been little setbacks. The stadium is 22 percent less crowded than last year; that’s really hit hard but in another way it’s kind of nice to test something that’s completely new within that environment.

Are you able to fulfill all the orders you get?

At that first game I never expected to have that much attention. I got to about 87 percent of orders that I had. Everyone was so excited to try it; also the vending site wasn’t quite ready for the crowds either. It was pretty intense. For Game 2 I got 29 orders and got to them all. Since then the crowds have been smaller. The next Saturday I got 15 or 20 orders, then about 12. But with the lower crowds I'm developing a rapport with customers.

Is your Twitter service helping you weather the drop in attendance?

It's helped me build regulars, but I'm still going up and down the aisles. It's really hard for the other vendors, the vendors that are counting on this for their for bread and butter. It's tough on them. They’re also cutting my schedule down a little bit.

So what beers do you sell?

Normal domestics--Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller and Miller Lite, Pyramid Hefeweizen and Curve Ball, and MacTarnahans Amber.

What's your average customer like?

I’ve actually had a lot of females, which is quite fun. It's about 60/40 males and females, which is high [in females] for baseball.

And how did this whole idea come about?

I had the @msbeervendor account and used it to make funny baseball statements and vending statements. I had 25 followers before this hit and now I've got about 1,400. A friend of mine said, hey people could tweet me their seat and I could bring them a beer. I just started tweeting it. People say it’s my 15 minutes of fame. No, I say it’s my 140 characters of fame.

I just found out there's a guy in Philly who's doing it too. I don't know if he'll have much luck.

· @Msbeervendor [Twitter]
· @Msbeervendor [Website]
· All Previous @Msbeervendor Coverage on Eater Seattle [-ESEA-]
[Photo via Facebook]

Safeco Field

1250 1st Ave. S, Seattle, WA