NASCAR & Craft Beer

30 July 2009

NascarDFHThis post started out as one of those “What are you drinking to watch the NASCAR Race today?”, but then I got to thinkin’.  Now keep in mind that thinkin’ can be a very dangerous thing in the Mybeerbuzz household.  Thinkin’ is what usually leads me to “grand schemes” like converting rainwater & grass cuttings into electricity, or having the TV turn on only when I walk into a room and only when there’s something I want to watch on TV.  As I sit here watching the NASCAR boys circling around our beloved Pocono Raceway, the grand scheme hit me…

With multi-million-dollar sponsorships from Budweiser, Miller Lite, Coors, and even non-alcoholic beverages like Coke & Pepsi, I started thinkin’…Why not Craft Beer?  More so, I really started thinkin’, When (not if) will craft beer sponsor a car?

So first the serious.  While NASCAR and the beer industry in general have not been recession-proof, both have managed to succeed and even grow in this tough economy…and as most of us know the craft beer industry has outpaced the macro beer industry in a significant way, so why not?  Yes perhaps fewer fans are in the seats this year, and perhaps, while beer may be recession proof, it may also not be price proof, but still…why not?

Yes you can make the good-ole’ boys argument and yes Ill admit that there are a fair share of the Bud-loving Bubbas in the audience, but look at the demographics for NASCAR’s audience.  Yes it is 60% male …but look a little further.  40% of NASCAR viewers make more than $60K a year even in this economy, and 42% have a college and/or graduate school education.  Keep in mind also that these demographics include children…so all in all these are significant numbers.  Not only are these numbers significant, they are also VERY similar to the typical craft-beer drinking community demographic.  Also keep in mind the inroads macro brewers have made by marketing craft-like beverages to their consumers…thus encouraging their main-stream consumers to try a craft beer!

Attendance at NASCAR races has doubled in the past 10-years, even including this year.  With attendance figures topping 6-million, averaging over 190,000 per race, and TV viewership ranging from 3.6 million per race to over 16-million viewers at the Daytona 500 (not to mention on-line outlets) NASCAR continues to dominate all other sports in attendance…even in a global market (with only one Nationwide Cup race  out of the US).

Bottom line here is that NASCAR’s audience is big, their marketing machine is huge, and even a team that finishes dead last at Daytona 2009 get’s significant TV advertising time and a hefty payment of $219,931.00!  So why not craft beer?

I certainly realize that NASCAR may not fit the image of many small-craft brewers and that it may make them appear to be bigger and perhaps more “corporate” than they wish to appear, but with their car sitting side-by-side with the likes of Tylenol, Unilever, Post Cereal, UPS, NicoDerm, Prilosec, Camping World, Best Western, Kellogg's and even Disney…How long before we see a car sponsored by Boston Beer Co, Sierra Nevada, or even Dogfish Head?  Money talks, so as a micro-brewer; if NASCAR puts more beer in my tanks and sells more of my  beer, who is it hurting? 

Come on Victory Brewing….get in Victory Lane, and what about One Guy Racing…he builds the engines, drive the cars, even jumps out to change tires.  Obviously these are just funny examples, but I’d bet some of the bigger small breweries may actually have the cabbage to be in the game.

So on to the fun part.  If craft brewing sponsored NASCAR, what would the cars look like? 


**Disclaimer (damn lawyers)…This is just for fun.  I created these graphics just as a mock up and not as ANY indication of any real car or real sponsorship.  I have no affiliation with NASCAR or any of the craft brewers.

3 comments (click to read or post):

Anonymous,  31 July, 2009 10:36  

Great article. Keep them coming Mr beerbuzzy.
I know I'd support a NASCAR craft beer team.

Anonymous,  04 August, 2009 17:12  

i think the main drawback is that sponsoring a car, and ads in general for high profile races are extremely expensive...a drop in the bucket for BMC but probably not for even a big micro like Boston Beer or Dogfish. A craft brewery would probably blow their entire year's advertising budget on a single commercial during a race, whereas Bud has 2 every commercial break,

mybeerbuzz,  04 August, 2009 19:37  

True...but with all of the associate sponsorships available a Micro wouldn;t have to support the entire team's budget, and wouldn;t have to advertise at all. Just the marketing on the car in; the days leading up to race day, race day itself and the reports of the race would get tremendous exposure on TV without any actual ads. I guess my contention is that partial sponsorship IS affordable by many of the larger micros, and perhaps a few races would yield better exposure to a new market than the lions share of their traditional advertising budget would anyway.

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