Pinehurst Man Crafts New Beer with a Golf Twist
For Pinehurst resident Casey Bierer, the light bulb moment came several years ago when he was interviewing Arnold Palmer about the golf legend’s new Half and Half, a mixture of equal parts iced tea and lemonade.
“I had asked Palmer a question,” said Bierer, a former reporter and producer for The Golf Channel. “I remember it like it was yesterday. ... He was answering, and I started having a conversation with myself. I love Arnold Palmer’s drink in a can, but I was like, ‘Golfer’s drink beer. Where is the iconic golf champion who has associated himself with a beer.”
Bierer couldn’t think of one, and after extensive research into the idea, he discovered that there was no such affiliation. It was an untapped market.
Bierer thought the idea would work, but he needed a golf icon, a place to brew the beer, a way to market it, and, of course, the product.
“The first name that came to mind was Sam Snead,” Bierer said. “He was always my favorite golfer, a great athlete and a gentleman.”
Things came together nicely for Bierer. The Snead family was receptive to the idea, and the two sides worked out a licensing agreement for Bierer to have the worldwide licensing rights to image and name of Sam Snead.
Then Bierer partnered with Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin to make the product, secured several patents for marketing purposes and then engaged Ray Klimovitz, recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Life Service Award from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas, to create a proprietary brew.
“He is one of the best brewmasters in the world,” Bierer said. “We started talking about what we wanted in our beer, and he comes up with a recipe, and he just nailed it.”
Slammin’ Sam beer debuted in July at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia in conjunction with the centennial of Snead’s birth. It is available at select locations in Virgina, West Virginia and North Carolina, and will soon be available at other resorts, restaurants and other outlets that sell beer.
It debuted at the Pinehurst Resort on Friday.
The premium lager received a rave reviews from several who had at least one at the Ryder Cup Lounge at the Resort.
On Friday, friends Rich Baumart of California, Ron Paone and Ed Thompson, both of New York, and Mike Porco of Chapel Hill, all gave the beer solid reviews from their bar stools at the Resort’s Ryder Cup Lounge following their round of golf.
“It’s not my normal favorite type of beer,” Porco said, “but it’s good.”
The golf buddies described the lager as “refreshing” and said that it had a nice aftertaste.”
“I would absolutely get it again,” Baumart said.
Ed Peckels, the director of food and beverage at Pinehurst Resort, isn’t surprised by the reactions.
“I think this product will speak for itself,” Peckels said. “Among guys who drink suds, I think it will stand up favorably with what they currently drink.”
Slammin’ Sam beer is one of 32 beers available at the resort.
The line’s packaging and marketing will depict famous images of Snead from the 1950s and ’60s. Ironically, Snead was pretty much a teetotaler, especially when he was on the circuit playing.
“We tried to stack the deck in our favor by releasing the beer in areas where we don’t have to explain who Sam Snead was,” Bierer said.
Bierer said he hopes to expand the brand in the future to reach more than just golfers.
“Our inspiration was Sam Snead,” Bierer said, “So golf courses are a natural target, but this is not just for golf courses, it’s not a novelty product. It’s something we think everyone will enjoy.”
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or by email at email@example.com.
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