It’s the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer!!
Yes, we know Christmas is long gone and most sane, holiday-respecting people have already boxed up their trees and ornaments, but for us, Christmas lasts all year. That’s because we have our very own Santa Claus. Meet mug clubber No. 182, better known as Mike Yeomans.
Mike has been an SBC mug clubber since 2007, but he has been donning his custom made Santa suit each Christmas for nearly 20 years. Decked in all red with a snowy white beard and a bag full of candy canes, Mike makes stops at elementary schools, senior homes, churches, and, of course, Springfield Brewing Company where each Christmas eve Santa Mike shows up for an eager crowd ready to start the holiday season.
But when he’s not dressed up as Saint Nick, Mike can be found saddled up at the downstairs bar with a big mug of Paul’s Pale Ale. So now that his holiday hours are over, it’s time to get to know the SBC Santa and discover how this beloved brewery tradition got started.
How long have you been Santa?
Mike: 20 years. I started in a church we belonged to back in New Jersey, and they had a breakfast with Santa, and they needed someone to do it.
And the Santa suit?
Mike: My wife made me the costume I wear. She was inspired by the Tim Allen movie, “The Santa Clause”.
How did you become the annual SBC Santa?
Mike: I’ve been doing this for four or five years. I just showed up, dressed upstairs and came down. I can’t remember if someone asked me to or not, but I think I decided to do it on my own. I’ve got a wig, a beard, the costume, and I have bells and a bag. I buy candy canes and give them out to everyone in here, and there will be kids who will tell me what they want.
What’s the most popular request?
Mike: You know… They’re so little it’s hard to understand them. I just nod and agree with what they say and tell them the elves are working on it. They talk so softly it’s hard to hear them.
You must be a convincing Santa!
Mike: Oh yeah! I’ve had a couple kids who know i’m the real Santa, and it’s because I have white eyebrows. I mean I don’t right now, but I paint them. There was one little boy who wasn’t sure if he believed in Santa any more, but he told his mom, “He’s the real Santa because his eyebrows were white.” I’ve had kids come up to me and say, “I saw you at Bass Pro!” I just say, “Yup! I was there.” You have to play along.
Have you ever gotten caught as a fake?
Mike: I’ve never gotten close to getting caught. The only time you get close is if a kid sits on the wig, and then it starts to pull down. I have to lower my head with the wig to keep it from coming off, but I’ve done this enough now that I could come up with some excuse off the top of my head if I needed.
Do the other Mug Clubbers know you as Santa?
Mike: Oh yeah. I enjoy doing it. It’s one of my favorite times coming here. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to put the costume on, and then I show up.
When you’re not Santa, what’s your favorite time to join your fellow regulars?
Mike: 3 p.m., any day of the week. They’re a good group. This is our Cheers. You’ve got the same guys that come down about every day, so this is our social time.
Mike: Mayhem Marzen, but when that’s not around I go with the pale ale. The pale tends to be all the regulars’ favorite.