On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe discuss the habit of champion athletes dousing their teammates with Champagne, beer, and other drinks immediately after winning a title, and how alcohol brands have seized upon these moments for self-promotion.
For this Friday’s tasting, your hosts try Blue Moon’s Moon Haze Hazy Juicy Pale Ale. Tune in for more.
Or Check Out the Conversation Here
Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.
Joanna Sciarrino: And I’m Joanna Sciarrino.
Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.
A: It’s the Friday “VinePair Podcast.” And Zach, I don’t know about you, but when my team wins, I’m really all about spraying Champagne all over the place.
Z: I would love to see a video of that.
A: No, I don’t do that at all, I think it’s ridiculous. But that’s what we’re going to talk about today, which is this crazy sort of idea that is all over sports, which is spraying alcohol when you win something. Whether it’s Formula 1, football, baseball, basketball, even bowling, maybe, I don’t know. Bowling, does anyone ever see them bowling? They go back and then, yeah, here we are. I don’t know. But this idea of spraying alcohol, specifically usually Champagne, everywhere.
J: Or beer.
A: Yes, or beer, is a very common occurrence. And when we came up with the idea of this topic for this week, for this Friday, Joanna, you had a very immediate gut reaction. What was that reaction?
J: I just think it’s so stupid and wasteful. Okay, I think that the spraying/dousing tradition is one I don’t love, but I do think that things like drinking Champagne out of the Stanley Cup is pretty cool.
A: That’s cool. I’m into that.
A: But you just think the wastefulness of the spray is not good.
J: Yeah. I also don’t think a shoey, which is that Australian tradition of drinking out of a shoe, which I first saw on F1. I think that’s disgusting.
A: That’s gross.
J: But the spraying…
Z: Not like the German beer bar glass boot, but actually drinking out of a shoe that someone has worn, that sounds horrible.
J: Taking off your shoe and drinking out of it.
A: After the shoe that pushed the pedal to the metal.
J: Right. Daniel Ricciardo did this.
Z: I mean, I guess the shoe is the real hero in the story anyhow, right? The shoe and the gloves, the driver just kind of wears them.
Z: I don’t know. I’m not a racing fan.
A: The thing I think is so interesting is that also, there’s so many brands that sponsor this.
A: And I wonder, it must be lucrative for the brands, but-
J: But is it?
A: I don’t know. They all want to be associated with it.
Z: You’re going to be in all the shots, right. That’s the thing. If your label is going to be prominent, whether it’s the Formula 1 driver, the baseball team winning the World Series, whatever, you’re going to be in the shots. I don’t know if it drives consumer behavior exactly but you’re going to be in all the shots which brands care a lot about.
J: What I always think in those moments, though, I’m always like, “So it’s not good enough for them to drink.”
J: They just want to spray it at each other.
A: What is that new contraption that turns the Champagne bottle into a squirt gun? It’s all over Instagram and TikTok. Yeah, it’s like, you can spray it. I don’t know.
J: Oh, gosh.
Z: I will say this. I think that some of that all gets consumed. Definitely, people are both drinking and spraying. I agree with your sort of general sentiment, Joanna. And it also bugs me, you guys are the right audience for this thing that annoys me. But any sparkling wine that’s used for a celebration is inevitably referred to as Champagne. And this came up recently as described with my Seattle Mariners where it was like, “Oh, the Champagne celebration.” And in fact, it was a domestically produced sparkling wine, which is fine. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t celebrate with that. It’s not like it’s a problem. It’s just like, I get it. In context, everyone talks about the Champagne celebration and blah, blah blah. But maybe just spring for the Champagne. That’s cool if you want to call it that. Otherwise, I don’t know. Just celebrate. It is funny to me in doing a little research for this episode, though, that in baseball at least — and I imagine this might be true in other sports — the only beer products that can be used for celebration…
J: Is it Bud?
Z: They can only use sparkling wine and beer, no other alcoholic beverages. So apparently you cannot douse your teammates in White Claw. And the other one is there has to be, since Budweiser is the official sponsor of Major League Baseball, it has to be a Budweiser product. So no dousing your teammates with Coors Light or whatever. Sorry guys. It’s very funny.
A: So if you’re a big Busch guy, it could be Busch.
Z: I guess so. Yeah.
A: That’s so ridiculous. So then if it’s sparkling wine, do you guys think it’s always Champagne or do you think sometimes it’s Prosecco?
A: And that’s what it is.
J: Yeah. So that’s not Champagne.
A: And they’re just spraying it.
J: And they’re spraying it. And there’s like that added whole thing about it being Ferrari Trento and people thinking it’s Ferrari.
A: Yeah. See, I think this is the dumbest move on this brand’s part because I think this brand has a great wine. I think it’s a delicious sparkling wine. But I’ve always felt that Ferrari has an issue in the U.S. with consumers thinking that it’s owned by Ferrari, the car company. And I feel like this is just typical. They’re Italian and don’t understand and don’t want to understand that that’s the issue. Come on, it is different. It’s like, “No, we don’t see it as different.” And then sponsoring Formula 1 is just further muddying the waters. I actually think that the damage that this is going to do to their brand in the U.S. of people thinking it’s a Ferrari sparkling wine is going to be for a very long time. For a very long time.
J: I think it’s so interesting. It was such an interesting choice.
A: I mean, sometimes in marketing, the obvious things are not the best decisions. You know what I mean?
J: Wow. You heard it here, folks.
A: I just think it’s true. And come at me, Ferrari.
Z: I guess I can cross off the VinePair branded pear brandy on my list of possible things for future collab.
A: Yeah, never doing brandy. But I think again, it’s one of these things where you assume you’re going to be in all the shots. But that’s a perfect example of where I don’t think it does you good. I actually think it harms the product. I think in a lot of ways, some of these Champagnes, you never see the super-, super-, super-high-end Champagnes being sprayed. Never, never. People aren’t walking around spraying Dom all over themselves. They’re drinking Dom. They’re spraying, I don’t know, a different Champagne, right? Mumm or whatever, that I think maybe also was willing to give up this sponsorship. “Ah, do we really want to be associated with this anymore?” Again, I think it’s very cool to be the Champagne that’s drunk out of the Stanley Cup. That’s a very different thing. It’s a very different thing because you’re still consuming, I think. And I think consumers look at that. What are they drinking versus what are they spraying? How are they treating this beverage? And you think about it based on what you’re willing to spray. So I don’t think it’s always necessarily the best thing for your brand.
Z: Well, I think there’s also the question of to what extent are these collaborations and sponsorships part of larger marketing efforts, right?
J: Yeah. Yes.
Z: So I think that there is benefit, perhaps, I don’t know if it’s specifically for Ferrari Trento, but for some of these brands to say we’re the official sparkling wine of Formula 1. And as we’ve talked about on the podcast before, Formula 1 is a brand now that has an audience, I think both in Europe and here in the United States, that is probably more affluent than the broader alcohol consuming audience as a whole. And it’s probably like, “Oh, well maybe that’s going to move some bottles for them.” And it’s not because the winner of the race sprays their crew team down with sparkling wine, but because that branding is attached to it, and it has cache. I, again, did a little bit of inquiring because I was personally curious about how, again, to come back to the Mariners, because it’s what I know well, how the sparkling wine that was placed in the locker room after they clinched the playoff spot, how that came to be there and asked around with some people. And it’s part of a much larger sponsorship deal that the parent company has with the Mariners that includes placement at the stadium, etc. And so it’s a byproduct of this larger engagement. It’s not like they came and said, “Hey, what is it going to cost us to be the Champagne or the sparkling wine that you use should you make the playoffs?”
J: To spray.
Z: It’s just part of this much larger thing. And maybe it could be that even the brand looks at that placement as possibly a slight negative. I kind of doubt it. But they’re doing it as a part of a much larger endeavor in the same way that Budweiser is the beer in those celebrations as a part of a much, much, much, much larger celebration or much larger collaboration with Major League Baseball, not just for that specific spot. So I think that it’s instructive to look at it that way. I also wonder, here’s my — this is not alcohol, but I think it’s also very relevant here — what has it done for Gatorade to be the thing that’s dumped on the coach when the team wins a game? Do you think that’s good for Gatorade?
A: So I think that for Gatorade it’s different because it’s almost like for that, that is the…
J: Gatorade was always going to be there.
A: Well, so that I think is why it works because it’s just a reminder to everyone, “Hey, this is what we were drinking on the sideline the whole game. The whole game we were staying hydrated with this tub that we’re dumping on the coach because this is what’s left over.” But you see, it’s also usually mostly ice and sometimes a little bit of the liquid, but it’s usually not totally full. And that’s because they’re reminding you that they’ve been drinking it the whole game. So I think that that’s a very nice sort of subliminal message to especially younger people who are getting into athletics. Like, “Oh, the team I love to watch drinks Gatorade.” But the difference with alcohol is they’re not drinking it the whole game. It’s like they’re not using it for peak performance. So I think what also is difficult with these celebrations is that usually in the after game, post-game interviews, the athlete is usually drinking what they actually want to drink. So you’ve seen LeBron come up on the dais with Lobos Tequila before, right?
A: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
J: Oh my God.
A: You see, they bring up their products or I’ve seen bottles of Dom before. I’ve seen bottles of Krug before. They bring up what they actually want to drink after they’ve sprayed themselves with whatever was the cheap sh*t they sprayed themselves with. So I think that that’s the difference here. That is why the whole spraying phenomenon doesn’t work in the way that people think it works.
Z: Well, it’s also a bit unfortunate because perhaps it’s become so regimented and expected and sponsored. It does sort of lack the sense of truth. I mean I think for the athletes themselves it’s fun and it’s a thing that they do to celebrate and whatever. But I also agree that it has sort of become a cliche. And again, it’s become packaged and branded and sold in a specific way that maybe robs it of some of its significance. And maybe what you’re describing, Adam, or even I think, again, talk about brands looking to connect with sports, probably what matters much more is if you’re in LeBron’s Instagram feed, if you’re the thing he’s drinking, not in that moment when he is celebrating, but in the moments of his life where people are presumably looking at his lifestyle choices and wanting to emulate them. That’s going to matter a lot more than whatever bottle of sparkling wine that happens to be a team or league branded and is there when they win something or pick your athlete. Doesn’t really matter who. So it’s an interesting thing. I also have to give one other note here for those who aren’t familiar with — Joanna mentioned the shoey, which sounds horrible. One of the other grossest traditions and celebratory drinking that I’m aware of is the winner of the Indy 500 drinking milk, which seems horrifying to me.
A: It’s so gross.
Z: You spent hours upon hours in a, I imagine, incredibly hot race car. And then they’re like, here have this big glass jar of, I assume cold, but whole milk probably. Ugh, miss me with that.
J: Thirst quenching.
Z: As Ron Burgundy said, milk was a bad choice.
A: Can we just talk about how sticky everything is too?
J: Oh, my God. Yeah. I mean it just seems miserable
A: Now we’re covered in sticky Champagne, hugging each other. And I mean, I know everyone’s hitting the showers, but like ugh.
J: Yeah, but also Zach, you said it. Yeah, now it’s facilitated. So they put up branded plastic on the walls, and they give you goggles so nobody gets their eye poked out with the cork.
Z: Yes, it’s so crazy.
J: It’s crazy.
A: It’s not fun. It’s not fun. Speaking of things that may or may not be fun, we have a beer in front of us we’re going to try. So speaking of sports, a brand that basically was made in a stadium, Blue Moon. Really in the Colorado Rockies stadium. Blue Moon sort of had a brewery there and then became really popular and then sort of expanded from there and is I think the No. 1 wheat beer in America. So they’ve released their new version of a hazy called Moon Haze. And it’s a hazy, juicy, pale ale brewed with dried whole oranges and has nothing to do with our conversation today. I don’t know if anyone ever sprays Blue Moon. I don’t think the Rockies are very good. So they probably never will. But we figure we’d try it because why not.
J: That sounds good. People love Blue Moon.
A: My father-in-law loves Blue Moon.
Z: Yeah, you have mentioned on the pod before that it is a favorite.
A: He loves it. That’s like his summer thing.
Z: I definitely have to say…
A: First of all, it pours very, very hazy orange. I think probably the haziest orange of any sort of more mass- produced hazy I’ve seen. It’s really the color of…
J: It’s opaque. Fully opaque.
A: Egg yolk. Yeah, and it is very orange on the nose.
J: I wish we had a regular or just a regular Blue Moon to compare it to. I haven’t had one for a very long time.
A: It’s very orange. Wow.
Z: That’s interesting because to me it smells a lot like I recall Blue Moon smelling. Now granted, to be fair, probably many of those were served with an orange slice in them.
A: I’m sure it’s opaque because it’s a wheat beer, right? It’s got to be. Let’s try this. But they’re calling it a hazy, juicy, pale ale. Let’s try this sucker.
J: What’s the ABV?
A: Tastes like Blue Moon.
Z: Yeah, I’m not sure I would distinguish it all that much from what I envision a Blue Moon tasting like. It’s maybe a little bit richer, maybe a little more bitter. It’s got a lot more bitterness on the finish for sure.
A: I mean, I’m going to be honest here. It’s not well made for a hazy. I think it’s not balanced. The thing that the hazy gets well, this doesn’t get well, is the hazy has that pillowiness and that bright orange aroma.
J: Fruity, yeah.
A: But then it’s very fruity on the finish. It’s not bitter like this. I think someone lost the script here and was like, “Let’s figure out how to engineer the…” It’s not what I would want from a hazy. I was really, really, really excited when I poured it. When I saw the color, when I smelled it, I was like, “Okay, maybe they did get this right,” but they didn’t, in my opinion.
J: But do you think they have to?
A: No, I think people who like Blue Moon like Blue Moon. But I don’t think this is going to convert any Hazy Little Thing drinkers.
Z: But see, it’s funny that you mentioned Hazy Little Thing because I think this is a problem that Hazy Little Thing has too, which is that to be coast to coast all the time, I think it has to kind of cut some hazy corners too. I don’t think of Hazy Little Thing as pillowy at all. It has a little more juiciness than some in your standard IPA perhaps. But I think the thing that we’ve seen, so far at least, and maybe someone will crack the code, is if you want the true sensation of a hazy IPA, you kind of have to get it fresh. You got to get it — I mean, I don’t know if you got to get locally — but I don’t think any of the big national kind of quasi-craft, quasi-macro breweries are going to be able to get it because I just don’t think it’s a format and a style that really can be produced at en masse can and sent around the world. This is a fine beer, I guess. I think, yeah, it’s basically a slightly hoppier Blue Moon in my eyes. But if you’re a haze bro, I don’t think it’s going to do it for you. But I don’t think Hazy Little Thing really does, either. I don’t think Hazy Little Thing’s audience is really haze bros, either. It’s IPA drinkers who are a little different and that’s fun, but it’s not going to replace their local craft hazy for them, I don’t think.
J: I don’t think this is a beer for haze bros. I think this is a beer for Blue Moon drinkers.
A: Yes, I think you’re right.
J: Who want to be a part of the hazy trend.
A: I think you’re right.
Z: Yeah. And in that regard, I think it achieves what it perhaps set out to do. It’s just probably not what we wanted it to do.
A: Yeah. Not what I wanted it to do. Oh, well.
J: Happy to try it.
A: Yeah, it was nice to try it. Thanks for sending it. If you have anything you want us to try on the pod, send it. Hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You just got to ship to New York and Seattle. And with that, I’ll see you guys on Monday.
J: Have a great weekend.
Z: Sounds great.
Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.
Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.
Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.