Seattle Kraken announce Coors and Hop Valley as official beer partners

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This news hit the wire yesterday: “The Seattle Kraken and Oak View Group (OVG) today announce Coors Light as the official domestic beer partner and Hop Valley Brewing Company as the official craft beer partner…”

Hop Valley Brewing was bought a couple years back by MillerCoors, so they don’t really fit the definition of “craft beer.” It is what it is.

The announcement was a total bombshell! NOT. What a surprise! NOT.

The announcement may cause some distress among local beer fans who look forward to becoming fans of Seattle’s new hockey team, but it really shouldn’t. This was not OVG’s way of saying, “Seattle loves Coors Light and Hop Valley so we decided to partner with them.” Not by a longshot.


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This partnership is about sponsorship and not beer. Nobody would be in a tizzy if they’d announced that Coors was their newest corporate sponsor, right? I’m sure Coke and Pepsi are duking it out to be the official soft drink. Jones Soda probably has no hope of even getting into that fight. Likewise, our local breweries had no horse in this race.

Speaking figuratively, this “partnership” only means that Coors and Hop Valley will have big, expensive signage at the new arena. They will be acknowledged as the beer partners in things like the press release that just came out, and that’s something for which they paid a crapton of money. The kind of money only huge corporate breweries can afford to pay.


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Think about T-Mobile Park, where you see those giant Coors billboards and the glowing-green Hop Valley logo. Then you look around and see so many of your fellow Mariners fans drinking beers from hometown favorites like Sumerian Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, and Fremont Brewing. Out in left field, there’s a whole beer station dedicated to Hop Valley’s beers. It’s the place with the huge neon sign and no line.

The fact is, no real craft brewery, local or not, could ever afford to pay for this kind of deal. We are talking huge, huge money. On top of that, I would imagine this has as much to do with the NHL as it does the local franchise.

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Wishing that the Kraken had named one of our beloved local breweries to be its official beer partner is like wishing the cute little coffee shop down the street sponsored a NASCAR team. If your favorite Major League Soccer team accepted Super Cuts as their sponsor instead of Rudy’s Barbershop, would you have a tantrum?

So what really should matter to beer fans? Will the Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena embrace local craft beer to the same degree as the city’s two other major sports venues? Hopefully, T-Mobile Park will be the standard to which they hold themselves but time will tell. And when that time comes, you can count on the Washington Beer Blog to share the list of good beer available at Climate Pledge Arena.

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I assume that these people (Oak View Group) are not stupid and that they will see value in creating a pleasant fan experience. Around here, that means providing something other than Coors Light and faux-craft beers from a once-craft brewery.

Yeah, local beer fans shouldn’t be too upset about this. This was a butt kiss for Coors; part of what they paid for was a big announcement like this. We shouldn’t be too surprised that the press release doesn’t really even mention Seattle’s vibrant beer and brewing scene. The agreement might even dictate that they not mention local craft beer when talking about beer at the arena. I don’t know. Regarding the presence of craft beer in big stadiums, I have some experience with a large sports franchise telling me, “We don’t talk about it because we really can’t.”

There was one thing that I found rather offensive. To appease us locavores, the press release noted that “Hop Valley Brewing… will be sourcing hops from a local farm in Yakima, Washington…” Uh, like they have a choice? That’s where every brewery sources its hops. It’s where hops come from.

Read the press release below and you’ll understand that this is about something other than beer. It’s about what Coors is bringing to the table, which is lots and lots of money.

Seattle Kraken and Oak View Group Announce Partnership with Molson Coors

Partnership brings Coors Light and Hop Valley into the arena

SEATTLE, March 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Seattle Kraken and Oak View Group (OVG) today announce Coors Light as the official domestic beer partner and Hop Valley Brewing Company as the official craft beer partner of the team and Climate Pledge Arena. The fan engagement-focused partnership will provide both frost brewed Coors Light and local Hop Valley beverages to guests throughout the arena.

The partnership includes two Coors Light branded bars inside Climate Pledge Arena, in-game and community fan activations and Coors Light’s state-of-the-art Silver Seats including cupholders with Coldr™ technology ensuring that the last sip of beer will be colder than the first. The bars will be a premier destination for fans to engage with the brand and purchase Coors and Hop Valley Brewing Company products. While the partnership brings national momentum for Molson Coors, the local Pacific Northwest ties run deep.

The branded bars will feature Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena inspired art murals created by Seattle based artist, Jeff Jacobson also known as Weirdo. A previous collaborator with Coors, Weirdo will create art in his unique style that captures both the spirit of the Pacific Northwest and the Coors brand, bringing the partnership to life visually. Additionally, Hop Valley Brewing, a growing craft brewery based in Eugene, Oregon, will be sourcing hops from a local farm in Yakima, Washington. 

Molson Coors is a leader in innovation and sustainability efforts in the beverage industry, championing one of the first consumer lead recycling campaigns in 1970. As a staple in the arena, continued commitment in the space aligns with the sustainability goals of Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena, which will be the first net Zero Carbon arena in the world set to open in Fall 2021.

“We’re no stranger to the adventures and thrills of the great outdoors and the mountains and we’re very excited to share that with our partner Molson Coors,” said Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken. “The Coors Light bars in Climate Pledge Arena will be the embodiment of the Pacific Northwest and the team and we are looking forward to seeing them come to life as a place for fans to gather and cheer on the Kraken.” 

“Climate Pledge Arena is the ideal place to expand Coors Light’s already-impactful presence in Seattle,” said Chris Steele, director of marketing at Molson Coors. “We’re looking forward to giving fans the chance to enjoy NHL games and live concerts from multiple vantage points in the arena. However, the most unique part of this opportunity lies in Climate Pledge Arena’s strident commitment to sustainability, with goals that compliment Coors Light’s own plans for the future. We’re proud to partner with the Kraken and Oak View Group as they open the world’s first net Zero Carbon arena.”

The Seattle Kraken are set to play their inaugural season at Climate Pledge Arena in 2021-2022.

About Seattle Kraken
The Seattle Kraken are the National Hockey League’s newest franchise, set to play their inaugural season in 2021-2022 at Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, developed by Oak View Group. Visit www.nhl.com/kraken for the latest news and information including press releases, multimedia content and the latest hires.



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