Maker's Mark Sponsors Louisville Facility: 20 Other Deals We'd Like to See
photo from thecardinalconnect.com
The Maker's Mark Distillery’s $500,000 donation to help fund a multi-million dollar academic facility for athletes at the University of Louisville sets an intriguing precedent.
Indeed, if Louisville can partially subsidize its Academic Center for Excellence via the sale of specially-produced bourbon bottles complete with coach Charlie Strong’s face emblazoned on the side, what opportunities are out there for other universities?
The following slideshow pairs up 20 institutions of higher learning with 20 distillers, winemakers and brew masters in a tour de force production that celebrates generosity, scholarship, marketing and regional goodwill.
As a point of reference, this presentation is intended solely for entertainment value and in no way advocates the consumption of alcohol in an irresponsible manner.
The Jack Daniels Coaching Search at Tennessee
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Though Derek Dooley may well finally right the ship at Tennessee and save his job in the bargain, he’s perhaps the guy in the most precarious position in college football coaching.
Yes, any slight misstep, or another sub-par campaign, might mean that Dooley the Younger is out and the search for a new leader of the Volunteers is on.
Who better to sponsor the search for THE Tennessee football coach than THE Tennessee Whiskey?
The Sutter Home Stanford Student Union
photo from news.stanford.edu
Seriously, what would be a more suitable patron for a California institution of higher learning than one of the most successful wineries in the region?
In the case of Stanford and Sutter home, it’s the fusion of marketable yet unpretentious wines with a university that offers a top-tier education while still participating, and succeeding, in the highest level of institutional athletics.
The Shiner Institute for Athletic Velocity at Texas
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Perhaps the best beer offering from the Great State of Texas, Shiner makes a dizzying array of lagers suitable for anyone’s liking.
So, why not partner a great Lone Star tipple with the state’s flagship university and their athletic need for speed?
Athletically speaking, the Longhorns recruit scary speed (not just in football), so why not fund a branded institute to study, promote and, ultimately, advance the concept of human velocity?
The Coors Extra Gold Astronaut Fellowship at Colorado
Colorado Astronaut Scott Carpenter, photo from coloradostateofmind.wordpress.com
Though the bold and syrupy Coors varietal known as “Extra Gold” has definitely slipped from the mainstream beverage market, it is still available in a repackage that downplays the Coors brand.
The current offering of “Extra Gold” is more likely to be found at your local gas station than your craft beer store, but don’t let that fool you; this is still a decent beverage, especially if you’re in a pinch.
Similarly, the University of Colorado shouldn’t be overlooked as an academic institution just because its football team has gone 16-33 since 2008.
In reality, Colorado is one of only 30 schools nationally to be deemed a “public Ivy league” institution, and furthermore, 18 former/present astronauts have been previously associated with the home of the Buffaloes.
The Early Times Mint Julep Basketball Hall of Fame at Kentucky
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Other than the winery saturated West Coast, the state of Kentucky might offer the most possibilities for an institution of higher learning to be married with an alcoholic beverage producer for sponsorship purposes.
For the flagship school in the Bluegrass State, the University of Kentucky, why not go all out and partner with the folks at Early Times who produce the official Mint Julep Cocktail, which is the only Julep served at the Kentucky Derby?
So, where should the people behind the No. 1 Julep emblazon their name on the UK campus?
How about a basketball Hall of Fame that celebrates the Wildcats' eight NCAA national championships that span five decades?
The PBR Schlitz University Library at Illinois
photo from collegeprowler.com
Did you know that the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana is located a mere 10 miles from the JOS Schlitz/Pabst Brewing Company in Woodridge, Ill.?
Yes, in what seems like one of the most convenient geographic arrangements betwixt higher learning and brewing, discount beer and college-aged students co-habitate in the Land of Lincoln.
So, what better way to honor this agreeable co-mingling than by plastering the name of the lager producer on the campus library?
And this is no run-of-the-mill university library; it’s the No. 2 largest in the nation from a higher learning standpoint and the No. 5 book depository overall among libraries nationwide.
The Patron School of Dental Medicine at UNLV
photo from mountainvistadevelopment.com
Even though the highly thought of Patron family of tequilas are produced from agave born from the Jalisco Hills of Mexico, the corporate headquarters for the top shelf potion are sited in Las Vegas, Nev.
And when you think Las Vegas and academic sponsorship possibilities, thoughts turn naturally to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas or, from an acronymic standpoint, UNLV.
UNLV houses the only Law School and Dental Schools in the state of Nevada, and since the Law School is already branded the “William S. Boyd School of Law,” Patron’s destiny is in dentistry.
Bacardi Stadium at Miami
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Though the Miami Hurricanes are one of the more viable collegiate football teams that have the daunting task of filling an NFL stadium on home game days, the truth is, filling 76,500 seats is a tough job for any program.
Yes, schools like Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Alabama and Texas regularly fill their oversized stadiums, but these edifices are located on campus and designed to accommodate the college game.
Sun Life stadium is a fine facility, but wouldn’t it be stellar if the Hurricanes built their own home field?
The perfect sponsor for such a monumental building project is Bacardi, which opened their 230,000 square-foot USA headquarters in Coral Gables (the same city that is home to the “U”) early in 2010.
The King Estate Erb Memorial Union at Oregon
photo from libweb.uoregon.edu
Often under recognized as a producer of fine wines and winning college football teams, the state of Oregon has pumped out both over the years and has never, in either case, sacrificed quality for quantity.
One of the Beaver State’s most recognizable and best wineries is King Estate, an entity that calls the city of Lorane home, a location that is a mere 30 miles south of Eugene, home to the University of Oregon.
What better way for King Estates to partner with Oregon than to help fund the much-needed renovations to the school’s student union that has failed to garner the support of students?
Yes, the winery could help soften the blow to Oregon students who have blocked the improvements due to being understandably against the fee increase necessary to underwrite the project.
The Bud Light Ice Dry Platinum Homecoming Weekend at Missouri
Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
It makes sense that a product of the Anheuser-Busch company of St. Louis, Mo. would bankroll some significant entity at the University of Missouri, as each of the two institutions represent excellence both within and beyond the borders the Show Me State.
Though the options are endless for lager related sponsorship opportunities between the two, why not put a label on Mizzou’s homecoming celebrations?
Yes, did you know that very first homecoming festivities in the history of college football took place at Missouri in 1891?
The Zima College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State
photo from coloradoindependent.com
Fort Collins, Colo., home of Colorado State, is an easy 60-minute drive north of Golden, Colo., home of the Coors Brewing Company.
Even though Coors stopped “brewing” Zima (a refreshing malt beverage alternative to real beer) in 2008, it is still sold in Japan and has always enjoyed a cult following among devotees in the USA.
So, why not bring back Zima in the domestic market in a big way and kick-off the re-entry by sponsoring the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Services?
In 2011, Colorado State’s vet school was ranked No. 3 nationally by U.S. News and World Report, second only to Cornell and the University of California at Davis.
The George Dickel Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State
photo from mtsu.edu
Sun Belt Conference member Middle Tennessee State’s recording discipline is self-explained as the “largest audio production and music business program of any school in the nation.”
What better alcohol-related sponsor for a Tennessee-based hub of the music industry than the George Dickel Whisky distillery, which is located in Tullahoma, a mere 43 miles south of the MTSU campus?
The Natty Light Center for NFL Development at Alabama
Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Regardless of the fact that Natural Light is brewed in St. Louis, Mo. (510 miles from Tuscaloosa), it just seems right to pair sponsor with program in the case of the Natty and the Tide.
Even though Alabama isn’t even close to having the most first-round draft picks in NFL history, its current “talent factory” scheme is pumping out pro-caliber athletes to the extent that a collegiate-grade beer sponsorship is well earned.
The Mad Dog 20/20 Carrier Dome at Syracuse
Michael Ivins-US PRESSWIRE
What in the world does Syracuse’s Carrier Dome and Mad Dog 20/20 have in common?
Well, it’s a question that is more easily answered than you might think.
First, the Carrier Dome and Mad Dog 20/20 are natives of the western side of the Empire State (New York).
The dome is located in Syracuse, and the “wine” (a term we’ll use loosely) is currently produced by Mogen David, a company that operates 200 miles away in Westfield.
Secondly, both are known for being a bit untamed and perhaps raucous.
The indoor stadium is commonly referred to as the “Loud House,” and the fortified beverage is described as a “dog that has a bite to back up its bark.”
Gruet Isotopes Park at New Mexico
photo from virtualalbuquerque.com
Did you know that in the Land of Enchantment, wine making dates back to 1580 and football playing harkens back to 1892?
Among the surprising frontrunners of New Mexico’s foray into modern winemaking is the Gruet Winery in Albuquerque, a grape-smashing facility whose portfolio includes some of the best sparkling wines in the USA.
That’s right…champagne, good champagne, is made in New Mexico.
Gruet is one of the few crafters of sparkling wine that uses the traditional French “Methode Champenoise” to craft a portion of their offerings, and the winery shares a hometown with the University of New Mexico.
So, how perfect is a marriage between the folks at Gruet and the baseball facility (currently dubbed “Isotope Park”) that is shared between the Lobo baseball team and the AAA Dodger affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes?
The SKYY Vodka Center for Smart People at UC-Berkley
photo from ucberkeleyadmissions.blogspot.com
Located just across the bay from San Francisco, the University of California at Berkley, commonly referred to as “Cal,” is literally a beacon of intellect.
UC-Berkley’s name is associated with a mind-blowing number of brainy achievements, including an estimated 70 Nobel Peace Prizes, 11 Pulitzer Prizes, the discovery of six elements from the famed periodic table and the development of the atomic bomb.
Other than the overwhelming number of wineries that dot the countryside of the area north of Berkley, another spirited connection can be found closer to home in San Francisco, where SKYY Vodka has its headquarters.
SKYY, perhaps the best-known USA-produced vodka, and an upper-tier concoction at that, would be the perfect partner to join Cal in building an edifice to envelop the brainpower of one of the most astute universities in our great land.
Mickey’s Big Mouth Zoological Museum at Wisconsin
photo from tripadvisor.com
Though there are a tremendous number of beer related industrial partners for the University of Wisconsin, one of the less-known, and therefore more uniquely marketable brands, is Mickey’s malt liquor.
Brewed by the Miller Brewing Company, Mickey’s comes in a wide-mouthed, squatty bottle that is likened to a grenade but is sometimes lovingly referred to as the “big mouth.”
Possibilities for marrying Wisconsin’s flagship university with Miller’s green malt liquor include a tantalizing proposal to pair a product that features a hornet on its packaging with the flagship institution’s renowned zoological museum.
The pictogram puzzles that already grace the inside of the lid on Mickey’s could be altered to relate to the museum’s vast collections, offering an educational edge to malt liquor.
The Hot Damn! Schnapps Field at DeKuyper Stadium at Cincinnati
photo from gobearcats.com
With a capacity of approximately 35,000, the University of Cincinnati’s historic Nippert Stadium is one of the smallest edifices in the BCS ranks.
Though Nippert is picturesquely nestled on campus, it’s wholly impractical for a major college football program moving forward, and with enlargement being discussed but hard to imagine, a new stadium may well be considered in the future.
An ideal benefactor for such a project can be found by driving a short distance north on Interstate 75, where DeKuper distills a dizzying array of schnapps, puckers and assorted liquors for human consumption.
One of DeKuyper’s better-known products, Hot Damn! cinnamon schnapps, would provide Cincinnati with a noticeable, if not obnoxious, marketing strategy that would rival the blue turf at Boise State.
The Sazerac Cocktail Department for French Studies at LSU
photo from lsufootballfreak.com
The Sazerac cocktail, which hails from New Orleans, is often regarded as the first cocktail in the USA.
The Sazerac consists of rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, simple syrup and absinthe (an anise or licorice flavored spirit), and the name is also used in a rye whiskey brand owned by the Sazerac company.
The official cocktail of New Orleans, Sazerac is as Louisiana as you’re going to get in terms of spirits, and so, why not pair it with the study of the basis of the Cajun dialect at LSU, French.
LSU’s French Department is ranked No. 2 nationally in terms of faculty research activity, a ranking that will more than likely be on par with the football Tigers’ preseason billing coming into the 2012 season.
Bluecoat Gin Chair for Sculpture at Temple
photo form theartblog.org
Of the handful of outstanding gin producers in the USA, Bluecoat is the only one that hails from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
And, of the handful of top-ranked fine arts programs for sculpture in the USA, Temple is the only one that is based at a university in the same city, Philadelphia.
US News and World Report’s 2012 rankings place Temple’s sculpting program at No. 9 nationally, a number that puts it in the same league as arty heavyweights Yale, the Art Institute of Chicago, VCU, Columbia and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Perhaps the ultimate pairing between higher education and the adult beverage industry, Bluecoat Gin and Temple University are both top-tier representatives from chilly Philly.