31 May 2013

Let Them Drink Beer!

Finally they are giving out something of worth on the podium

Anyone noticing an increased trend in handing out beer to the lucky three on the podium? Two weeks ago after the Amgen Tour of California ended in Santa Rosa, a fan named Robert promptly wrote to me to ask what type of beer was inside the growlers given to the top 3 finishers of the tour.

Now this type of question is right up my alley. I may not be an expert at bike mechanics or race tactics, but I do know how to research a travel-beer-what-happens-at-a-bike-race type of question. I remembered watching the podium presentations and hearing that the beer was from a local brewer.

So I called directly to the largest, and first, brewery that popped up when I googled 'Santa Rosa Brewery'. Within minutes I was speaking on the phone with the bartender at the Russian River Brewing Company. "Was that your beer on the podium at the finish of the Tour of California today?" I asked, "Yes it was," he proudly replied. You better believe he was happy for such immediate response to having his beer on stage. I hope he received many more calls that day. Good old fashioned advertising at its best - put your product in front of the people.

I have always thought there to be a gap in sunscreen sponsors and beer sponsors in this sport. After all these items must be two of the most used products by amateur cyclists. 

I promptly replied to Robert as if uncovering hidden treasure. The growler of beer awarded was from the Russian River Brewing Company, "Hope they got Pliny The Elder," Robert quickly wrote back. I do too. It turns out Pliny the Elder receives great reviews and has a 100/100 rating (after 6,443 reviews) from Beeradvocate. I didn't know that before the podium presentation, or before being asked this question. I did know that Colorado is a leading force in micro-brews, and that California has their leaders as well, as experienced first-hand during my recent visit to Stone Brewery in Escondido after Stage 1 of the Tour of California. (story here) (beer list here).

Pliny The Elder beer from Russian River Brewing Company, was it on the Podium at Tour of California.
Photo from beerblotter. wordpress
Michelob Ultra was an official sponsor at the Amgen Tour of California, hosting and transporting their huge beer garden from city to city, but leave it to a local brewery to get their product up on stage as an innocent enough award. An award seen by thousands of fans watching the presentation in person or live on TV - instant visual product marketing. Brilliant.

I like the tradition of beer on the podium, and it looks like the riders do too because there is evidence of beer chugging going on by the winners - not just champagne sipping - we're talking chugging. Bottles of the recognizable green labeled Sierra Nevada Pale Ale beer were recently awarded to the mens and womens winners at the USA Cycling National Championships in Chattanooga, TN, where again, I chuckled as the riders were definitely seen drinking the beer.

Never once has it occurred to me to ask, I wonder what kind of champagne they're spraying, but when it comes to beer - sure, I'll take a good beer recommendation any day. 

Beer!  Image found on Tour Chats

Beer foams and sprays adequately enough and it is probably put to better use after the stage than those flowers or stuffed animals typically handed out. Now I wouldn't leave bottles of beer in the team bus window, but I doubt a team mechanic would leave a bottle of beer sitting around unused for long.
Stuffed lions in the Europcar Team Bus at the 2011 Tour de France after Thomas Voekler's 10 days in the yellow jersey.
One thing is certain - we will probably see lots more beer in the future of cycling!

Team Sky recently posted this photo.
The sunscreen - well that's hidden on the team buses.

DZ selecting his sunscreen. Why don't we have a sunscreen sponsor in this sport?!  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®

Related Pedal Dancer posts: Best Beer Pubs and Breweries in Denver or Beers in Belgium 

Update June 2nd: Willie The Photographer went to his local liquor store specializing in "world wines, spirits, beers, cigars," looking for Pliny The Elder beer, he was told it comes in every two weeks and lasts 2 hours. Wow, I need to search for this rare commodity. Willie The Photographer and his wife are now road tripping it through Utah where today they enjoyed beer by the name of Poligamy Porter. You see, you never see names like that for Champagne.