Packers wine

Some Green Bay fans will cheer their team to victory this season with a fine California wine poured from etched bottles commemorating the Packers 100th anniversary season.

The new line — the Centennial Red Handcrafted Reserve — is from Mano’s Wines, a Kansas City, Missouri, “urban winery” that issues wines in commemorative bottles for NFL teams.

The Packers limited-edition branded wines include a Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon and a Monterey Merlot reserve, aged for 15 months and marketed as offering a “taste of victory.”

The handsome Packers bottles come in four styles — for consumption or adorning a fan’s man-cave or she-shed.

The new line is part of a growing trend by vintners and brewers to align with outside entities. Mano’s, for example, also offers wines for Major League Baseball and National Hockey Federation teams, as well as collegiate sports teams. 


Cult favorites come alive 

Alcoholic beverages co-branded with sports teams score points with consumers and marketers know people buy products they identify with. 

Thus, wines and beers aligned with movies and TV programs, particularly those with cult followings, also are popular co-brands. Sales success is based less on the wine inside and more on fan fanaticism.

Like any TV series, the wines come and go, and not every brand is available in every market. 

Here’s a sampling: 

Fans of the PBS series Downton Abbey had their own branded wine, a claret from France’s Bordeaux region similar to one that Mr. Carson may have decanted and served the Grantham family in the great hall.

The flip side of that wine has to be the three types of Duck Dynasty wine, tied to the reality TV series. Whether you’re talking Duck Commander “Triple Threat” Red Blend, Wood Duck Chardonnay or “Miss Priss” Pink Moscato, all were probably suitable for Cousin Godwin to sip while sitting in his roadside hot tub waving at the neighbors.

There also have been limited edition releases tied to Star Trek — “The Trouble with Tribbles” Red Blend, anyone? — and both red and white wines have tapped the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise.

The current fave, however, are likely the wines co-branded with the AMC series The Walking Dead. Drinkers of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Blood Red Blend can even download an app that makes the zombies on the wine bottle labels come alive. Of course, consuming several bottles at a single sitting may have the same effect.


Doing good by brewing well 

Not everything is about profit. Some breweries and wineries make charitable work part of their business plans.

OneHope Winery in Santa Ana, California, is known for its contribution to multiple charities — from environmental causes to pet-rescue projects. Some of its most dramatic contributions have been made to organizations devoted to ending childhood hunger and to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline serving troubled LGBTQ youth.

Chateau La Paws, based in Napa, California, offers financial support to no-kill shelters and supports pet adoption efforts. The labels on its five varietal wines feature photos of shelter dogs who are looking for — or have found — forever homes.

Purple Heart Wines in St. Helena, California, partners with the national Purple Heart Foundation to help U.S. military veterans in need. Recently, the winery broadened its scope to assist veterans impacted by the California wildfires.

Breweries also have pitched in, quietly providing support to the communities they serve. 

In 2016, U.S. craft breweries donated over $73 million to charitable causes, according to industry trade group the Brewers Association, and the amount keeps climbing every year.

MillerCoors, central to Milwaukee’s brewery legacy, financially supports the Matthew Shepherd Foundation’s “Be Proud, Stay Loud” program to help prevent hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals. It also contributes funds to local LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS organizations. 

In addition, the brewing conglomerate supports upcoming LatinX leaders through the Coors Light Líderes program.

Meanwhile, in Madison, Next Door Brewing has had a longstanding affiliation with the Madison Audubon Society. Each year the little brewpub sponsors Bikes, Birds and Beer, an annual ride around Lake Monona, with stations staffed by Audubon Society volunteers who offer educational sessions and bird spotting. 

This year’s ride is Sept. 29. The $20 entry fee — $30 on the day of the event — includes a map, bird checklist, commemorative pint glass and one free beer, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Audubon Society educational events.

But when it comes to giving, little Potosi Brewery sets the pace.

Located in the southwestern community that bears its name, Potosi was founded in 1852 and survived Prohibition, only to close its doors in 1972 in the face of growing competition. Following a $7.5 million restoration, the brewery reopened in 2008, quickly becoming home to the National Brewery Museum, a restaurant and a gift shop run by the Potosi Foundation.

The brewery operates as a nonprofit and its mission statement is a simple one: “All profits to charity.” It recently demonstrated that commitment by inaugurating a new beer in honor of Cory Barr, the firefighter who died after a gas main exploded under the main street of Sun Prairie.

Profits from Sun Prairie Strong Pilsner, Barr’s preferred brew, will be donated to the Sun Prairie Disaster Relief Fund.


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