New Belgium grabs a piece of the esports pie with its Dignitas deal
Given the way that beer has been inextricably linked to baseball, football, and hockey for as long as those sports have existed, it should surprise no one that breweries have gone looking for a piece of the esports pie. For the most part it’s been the big boys that have been involved—most notably Anheuser-Busch. Now the New Belgium Brewing Company has thrown its microbeer clout behind the esports organization Dignitas.
In a sponsorship-deal first for the company, New Belgium Brewing has announced that its Voodoo Ranger beer is now the chief sponsor of Dignitas. That means esports fans will be seeing the beer’s logo on themed content, at game nights, and in association with the organization’s players and social media influencers.
Look forward to in-person activations once this whole pandemic mess is behind us. Until then, Voodoo Ranger and Dignitas will host online happy hours. No word on whether or not you have to track down your own beer for that.
It’s obvious what New Belgium gets out of the deal, namely valuable exposure in a growing esports world where mega-brands like Budweiser and Miller have been quick to plant their flags. (Bud’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, has been particularly aggressive in attempting to carve out a place in the industry, going as far as to apply for a trademark for “The Official Beer of Esports”.
One might legitimately ask what the company is thinking on that front. To the rest of the world, it seems every bit as foolish as Molson attempting to dub itself the Official Beer of Hockey. Is that supposed to stop beer leaguers from bringing Parallel 49 or Andina into the dressing room?)
Anyhow, as for what Dignitas gets from the deal, it’s the chance to be associated with a brand that’s carved out a reputation as a grassroots success story. New Belgium Brewing Company might be owned by Japanese giant Kirin today, but it was started by a couple of buddies after a cycling trip through Belgium. After that, the two headed to the Colorado mountains to camp, draw up a business plan, and, presumably, drink beer. New Belgium quickly went on to become one of the most successful microbreweries in North America.