Co-brand­ing wine, beer for sports team & char­ity

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion - By Michael Muck­ian Con­tribut­ing writer

Some Green Bay fans will cheer their team to vic­tory this sea­son with a fine Cal­i­for­nia wine poured from etched bot­tles com­mem­o­rat­ing the Pack­ers 100th an­niver­sary sea­son.

The new line — the Cen­ten­nial Red Hand­crafted Re­serve — is from Mano’s Wines, a Kansas City, Mis­souri, “ur­ban win­ery” that is­sues wines in com­mem­o­ra­tive bot­tles for NFL teams.

The Pack­ers lim­ited-edi­tion branded wines in­clude a Cen­tral Coast Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and a Mon­terey Mer­lot re­serve, aged for 15 months and mar­keted as of­fer­ing a “taste of vic­tory.”

The hand­some Pack­ers bot­tles come in four styles — for con­sump­tion or adorn­ing a fan’s man-cave or she-shed.

The new line is part of a grow­ing trend by vint­ners and brew­ers to align with out­side en­ti­ties. Mano’s, for ex­am­ple, also of­fers wines for Ma­jor League Base­ball and Na­tional Hockey Fed­er­a­tion teams, as well as col­le­giate sports teams.

CULT FA­VORITES COME ALIVE

Al­co­holic bev­er­ages co-branded with sports teams score points with con­sumers and mar­keters know peo­ple buy prod­ucts they iden­tify with.

Thus, wines and beers aligned with movies and TV pro­grams, par­tic­u­larly those with cult fol­low­ings, also are pop­u­lar co-brands. Sales suc­cess is based less on the wine inside and more on fan fa­nati­cism.

Like any TV se­ries, the wines come and go, and not ev­ery brand is avail­able in ev­ery mar­ket.

Here’s a sam­pling:

Fans of the PBS se­ries Down­ton Abbey had their own branded wine, a claret from France’s Bordeaux re­gion sim­i­lar to one that Mr. Car­son may have de­canted and served the Gran­tham fam­ily in the great hall.

The flip side of that wine has to be the three types of Duck Dy­nasty wine, tied to the re­al­ity TV se­ries. Whether you’re talk­ing Duck Com­man­der “Triple Threat” Red Blend, Wood Duck Chardon­nay or “Miss Priss” Pink Moscato, all were prob­a­bly suit­able for Cousin God­win to sip while sit­ting in his roadside hot tub wav­ing at the neigh­bors.

There also have been lim­ited edi­tion re­leases tied to Star Trek — “The Trou­ble with Trib­bles” Red Blend, any­one? — and both red and white wines have tapped the Fifty Shades of Grey fran­chise.

The cur­rent fave, how­ever, are likely the wines co-branded with the AMC se­ries The Walk­ing Dead. Drinkers of the Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and Blood Red Blend can even down­load an app that makes the zom­bies on the wine bot­tle la­bels come alive. Of course, con­sum­ing sev­eral bot­tles at a sin­gle sit­ting may have the same ef­fect.

DO­ING GOOD BY BREW­ING WELL

Not ev­ery­thing is about profit. Some brew­eries and winer­ies make char­i­ta­ble work part of their busi­ness plans.

OneHope Win­ery in Santa Ana, Cal­i­for­nia, is known for its con­tri­bu­tion to mul­ti­ple char­i­ties — from en­vi­ron­men­tal causes to pet-res­cue projects. Some of its most dra­matic con­tri­bu­tions have been made to or­ga­ni­za­tions de­voted to end­ing child­hood hunger and to The Trevor Project, a sui­cide preven­tion hot­line serv­ing trou­bled LGBTQ youth.

Chateau La Paws, based in Napa, Cal­i­for­nia, of­fers fi­nan­cial sup­port to no-kill shel­ters and sup­ports pet adop­tion ef­forts. The la­bels on its five va­ri­etal wines fea­ture pho­tos of shel­ter dogs who are look­ing for — or have found — for­ever homes.

Pur­ple Heart Wines in St. He­lena, Cal­i­for­nia, part­ners with the na­tional Pur­ple Heart Foun­da­tion to help U.S. mil­i­tary vet­er­ans in need. Re­cently, the win­ery broad­ened its scope to as­sist vet­er­ans im­pacted by the Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires.

Brew­eries also have pitched in, qui­etly pro­vid­ing sup­port to the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.

In 2016, U.S. craft brew­eries do­nated over $73 mil­lion to char­i­ta­ble causes, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try trade group the Brew­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, and the amount keeps climb­ing ev­ery year.

MillerCoors, cen­tral to Mil­wau­kee’s brew­ery legacy, fi­nan­cially sup­ports the Matthew Shep­herd Foun­da­tion’s “Be Proud, Stay Loud” pro­gram to help pre­vent hate crimes against LGBTQ in­di­vid­u­als. It also con­trib­utes funds to lo­cal LGBTQ and HIV/ AIDS or­ga­ni­za­tions.

In ad­di­tion, the brew­ing con­glom­er­ate sup­ports up­com­ing Lat­inX lead­ers through the Coors Light Líderes pro­gram.

Mean­while, in Madi­son, Next Door Brew­ing has had a long­stand­ing af­fil­i­a­tion with the Madi­son Audubon So­ci­ety. Each year the lit­tle brew­pub spon­sors Bikes, Birds and Beer, an an­nual ride around Lake Monona, with sta­tions staffed by Audubon So­ci­ety vol­un­teers who of­fer ed­u­ca­tional ses­sions and bird spot­ting.

This year’s ride is Sept. 29. The $20 en­try fee — $30 on the day of the event — in­cludes a map, bird check­list, com­mem­o­ra­tive pint glass and one free beer, with a por­tion of the pro­ceeds go­ing to ben­e­fit Audubon So­ci­ety ed­u­ca­tional events.

But when it comes to giv­ing, lit­tle Po­tosi Brew­ery sets the pace.

Lo­cated in the south­west­ern com­mu­nity that bears its name, Po­tosi was founded in 1852 and sur­vived Pro­hi­bi­tion, only to close its doors in 1972 in the face of grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Fol­low­ing a $7.5 mil­lion restora­tion, the brew­ery re­opened in 2008, quickly be­com­ing home to the Na­tional Brew­ery Mu­seum, a restau­rant and a gift shop run by the Po­tosi Foun­da­tion.

The brew­ery op­er­ates as a non­profit and its mis­sion state­ment is a sim­ple one: “All prof­its to char­ity.” It re­cently demon­strated that com­mit­ment by in­au­gu­rat­ing a new beer in honor of Cory Barr, the fire­fighter who died af­ter a gas main ex­ploded un­der the main street of Sun Prairie.

Prof­its from Sun Prairie Strong Pil­sner, Barr’s pre­ferred brew, will be do­nated to the Sun Prairie Disas­ter Re­lief Fund.

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