Nov 042014

Billy_Beer_LogoIn 1977, a number of breweries, beginning with Falls City and Pearl Brewing Co., brewed a beer named after and supported by Billy Carter.  Billy was the younger brother of then President Jimmy Carter.

Billy Carter was somewhat of an outgoing, fun loving, and partying guy who loved promoting his namesake beer.  The beer, however, was short lived and soon died.  In fact, Billy Carter’s beer of choice was actually Pabst.  Thousands of cases of Billy Brew were produced and became collectable items.  And even today, there are still some cans around.

Over the decades, many celebrities have lent their name to promoting beer.  These include Ben Hogan for Pabst, James Colburn for Schlitz, and of course, Ed McMann for AB.  At one time, Mark Harman promoted Coors, and even famous actors supported certain beers including Paul Neumann, who first supported Coors, and then later, AB.  Once Neumann started with AB, a Bud logo showed up on his race car.

This type of name lending continues today with Neil Patrick Harris as a spokesperson for Heineken Light.  Sometimes it works in reverse as with Dos Equis great commercials and the most interesting man in the world.  These commercials have made a name for him.

Last week it was announced that three professional golfers have teamed up and with BrewHub to produce beers with their names on the products.  These golfers are Graeme McDowell for a Celtic Style Blonde Ale, Keegan Bradley for a New England Style Lager, and Freddie Jacobson for a Scandinavian Style Blonde Ale.  All with an ABV between 4.5% – 5% range and all aimed toward an easy drinking craft beer.

These three beers will start selling in Florida, first with drafts, and will target select golf courses, on site restaurants (probably sport bars), and country clubs.  Followed soon by cans for the off premise.  At this time, there has been no announcement as to the distribution network.

So now the question is: are we seeing the beginning of a wave of celebrities who are attempting to capitalize on their names by selling them to breweries to put on a beer?  How about a beer from Michael Jordan?  Jimmy Johnson?  Or even Kim Kardashian?

Perhaps the sports complexes and organizations do the same, Cowboy beer?  Steeler beer?  Giant’s beer?  Lakers beer?  These sold in their stadiums and local market.  Next colleges get into it, Crimson tide beer, Tiger beer, Longhorn beer, Duck beer?  You get the picture.

Think about the names of beer in the past.  Breweries have named products after cities, rivers, mountains, regions, area phone codes, lakes, and now even some after movies like Star Wars.

If the projections and forecasts are right or even close to the continued interest in crafts, we can expect this happening.  Beer might even become like perfume, famous people selling their name on a can.

In today’s social media environment, top tier athletes such as these pro golfers have thousands of followers.  Movie stars and Hollywood celebrities have millions of such followers.  This all leads to a built in consumer base and a marketing dream.  What distributor would not be interested in selling a product with that kind of potential?

Billy Carter was just one of the first to sell his name, now come the rest.  Remember it’s all in the name!

Beer Fodder;

 Posted by at 6:00 am

  One Response to “It’s all in the name…”

  1. Remember all this well, my years at Hudephol-Schoenling we produced a beer for the Cincinnati Bengals called Who-Dey taken after the still famous saying and song at the games Who-Dey think going to beat them Bengals. It died out when the team moved to the new stadium and the cost to use went through the roof.

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