On Tap: A Look at NIL Collectives with Collective-Inspired Beers

Last Updated on February 20, 2024

Six NIL collectives have launched NIL collective-inspired beers just in time for the college football season. With a percentage of the profits going to Collective-inspired initiatives, each beer will aim to be a gameday tailgate staple, bringing together the teams’ fan bases. We can expect more collectives to launch similar fan engagement campaigns as NIL transitions into its third year to capitalize on NIL’s power to unite fan bases and contribute to creating unique NIL opportunities for college athletes.

Country Roads Trust: Big Timber Brewing Company

West Virginia is the latest to launch a NIL-themed Lager through its Country Roads Trust fan club that connects Mountaineer fans with players for NIL opportunities. Country Roads Trust initiated a licensing partnership with Big Timber Brewing Company to distribute a collaboratively branded lager.

The Mountaineer lager is 4.0% ABV, and 15% of all proceeds from the Mountaineer-themed lager will be reinvested in Country Roads Trust. The beer will be sold at West Virginia Mountaineer football games and statewide. In addition to being West Virginia’s largest brewery by volume, Big Timber has earned a medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

We Will Collective: Ames Lager

We Will Collective has partnered with local brewery West O Beer to launch Ames Lager. The We Will NIL collective supports Iowa State athletes’ charitable endeavors. A portion of the proceeds from Ames Lager sales will go to the We Will Collective.

As a result of this collaboration, Iowa State fans can support the NIL efforts of their favorite athletes. Ames Lager is 4.5% ABV and represents Iowa State and the community of Ames, Iowa, and is expected to be released in August. Fans of the Cyclones will be able to support their community and athletes as the beer will eventually be distributed throughout the state.

The SWARM Collective: SWARM Golden Ale

Iowa’s Swarm Collective collaborated with a Des Moines brewery, Exile Brewing Company, to create SWARM Golden Ale. An excellent choice for gameday, SWARM Golden Ale is 4.1% ABV and refreshing and light tasting. Ultimately, 20% of the sales profits from SWARM Golden Ale will go to the Swarm Collective.

As much as SWARM Golden Ale has generated a great deal of fan interest within the University of Iowa community, Brad Heinrichs, the CEO of Iowa Swarm, hopes fans enjoy the beverage with the intent of furthering the collective’s impact by stating, “We hope that Iowa fans will proudly consume this beverage knowing that they are also assisting the efforts of the Swarm.” SWARM Collective is a non-profit organization that helps Iowa Hawkeye athletes grow and amplify their brand while giving back to charities.

Horseshoe Collective: The Horseshoe Golden Ale

Idaho-based brewery Western Collective has partnered with Boise State’s Horseshoe Collective to launch The Horseshoe Golden Ale. Horseshoe Golden Ale is 4.8% ABV, and proceeds from Horseshoe Golden Ale will support the Horseshoe Collective’s mission of connecting Boise State athletes with charitable organizations and businesses to earn money through NIL.

What makes The Horseshoe Golden Ale unique is that the cans are wrapped in blue and orange coloring to support the Bronco faithful, but it also features drawn-out chalkboard plays by both the Head Football Coach Andy Avalos and Head Basketball Coach Leon Rice.

Cincy Reigns: Cincy Light

University of Cincinnati’s NIL collective Cincy Reigns partnered with local Cincinnati brewery Rhinegeist to create Cincy Light. According to Cincy Reigns, Cincy Light is “an easy-drinking light lager capturing the spirit of the Queen City.” Cincy Light is 4.2% ABV, and some retail profit from Cincy Light will go directly to Cincy Reigns to support University of Cincinnati athletes.

Rhinegeist Brewery was established in 2013, and its name means ghost of the rhine, which is a nod to its location in Cincinatti’s brewery district over the rhine. Cincy Light comes in a unique silver can that sports the Bearcats’ red, white, and black colors and the Rhinegeist Brewery logo. University Cincinnati alums were pivotal in designing the particular collective-inspired beer cans. Cincy Light will be released in late fall.

Flying T Club: Hells Half Lager

Fort Worth-based brewery Fort Brewery and local athletic apparel company Hell’s Half Acre Stadium Goods partnered to establish Hells Half Lager. The Fort Worth collaboration is geared towards generating funding for TCU’s Flying T Club. Hell’s Half Lager is 4.6% ABV, and its name references the early lawlessness and violence of the Hells Half Acre section of Fort Worth.

Hells Half Lager is available now and acts as a catalyst to encourage the local Fort Worth business community to invest in the NIL pursuits of the Horned Frog athletes in the immediate future.

Happy Valley United: State Light

Happy Valley United, a NIL collective that supports college athletes at Penn State University, partnered with the Williamsport-based New Trail Brewing Co. to create State Light. $1.50 from every case of beer purchased goes directly to the collective. In October 2023, the collective announced that fans had already purchased over 10,000 cases of the beer.

“Our partnership with New Trail signals a buy-in by local businesses to Penn State student-athletes,” Jen Ferrang, Happy Valley United General Manager of Development and Corporate Partnerships, said. “New Trail’s generosity aligns with our vision to support NIL opportunities at Penn State for all student-athletes and gives Nittany Nation the opportunity to show their support on game day.”

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