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Case Study: Creating Beer Partnerships

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As ski brands look to find new customers through marketing partnerships, some turn to a product that goes hand in hand with skiing: beer.

Nordica USA, Rocky Mountain Underground and Spyder Active Sports are three that use beer partnerships as a way to attract customers that they couldn’t on their own.

For Spyder, its partnership with Carlsberg Canada started with the beer brand buying Spyder softshells for Carlsberg’s corporate division.

Spyder ski jackets partners with Carlsberg Canada beer

After doing consumer profiles on both Spyder’s and Carlsberg’s customers, the two brands decided a three-year partnership would benefit both.

“The fit just kind of seemed to be there for both of us,” says Russ Rowan, Spyder’s marketing and sales vice president.

Similar to Nordica and Rocky Mountain Underground, Spyder’s role is to bring Carlsberg Canada beer into the ski industry. In exchange, it reaches beer-drinking consumers who may not know about Spyder.

But are there so many parallels with beer and skiing that the customers overlap and brand partnerships mean marketing to the same people?

Not necessarily.

Rocky Mountain Underground and New Belgium Brewery collaborate on skis

Andy Hare, Nordica USA’s product and promotions director, says there are likely some people that its partner, Bud Light, reaches who likely will never ski as well as those that are already familiar with Nordica.

Hare’s argument, though, is that the same thing happens when a brand advertises in a magazine—or anywhere else.

“It’s trying to get more eyeballs on your product and more impressions,” Hare says.

For Rocky Mountain Underground, partnering with New Belgium Brewing Co. gives the small Colorado-based ski brand access to a much bigger market.

“I think we can reach an even broader audience with what New Belgium is offering,” says Timothy Haley, Rocky Mountain Underground’s co-owner.

Like Nordica, the indie brand is making beer-branded skis. But in this case, they’re giving away the skis during New Belgium’s scavenger hunts. And many of the skis are auctioned with proceeds going to charity instead of kept and used, Haley says.

“Ultimately the goal is to drive sales, but that’s not what’s driving us to do it,” he says. “To be able to give back was a huge piece of it.”

Haley has talked with many beer brands that are looking for similar cross-promotion, and he thinks it’s possible for other brands—both beer- and ski-related—to form mutually beneficial partnerships.

He suggests that brands approach others that inspire them and have similar business values. But, especially small ski brands, shouldn’t be intimidated by nor waiver to a bigger partner, he says.

As with Spyder and Nordica, Haley says the lifestyle similarities are the biggest factor when creating a partnership, and the increased exposure needs to benefit both partners.

“Alcohol companies and beer companies do the same thing (as ski brands),” Haley says. “We’re selling an experience.”

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2 Responses to “Case Study: Creating Beer Partnerships”

  1. mallthus says:

    There's a lot of interesting potential here, but brands should understand that there are some pretty restrictive rules that effect how and where alcoholic beverage products can be promoted. Smaller brands, especially, need to make sure they're not running afoul of these rules.

  2. RockNRoller says:

    I'd love to have those graphics on my skis

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