Oskar Blues Brewery has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to the craft beer industry, especially when you remember they were the first to can craft beer. That first can of Dale's Pale Ale set off a movement that began seeping into the NASCAR industry since 2013, when that very beer became the first to receive NASCAR sponsorship status, as announced by JR Motorsports.
Now, OBB has gone one step further and Dale's Pale Ale is officially the first craft beer to gain primary sponsorship status for NASCAR. So what does that mean? Well, it means that Oskar Blues has become the craft beer sweetheart in an industry that has the most loyal fans of any sport.
Elliot Sadler will drive the Dale's Pale Ale Chevrolet Camero, marked with the No. 1, in races at Pocono Raceway on June 10 and Texas Motor Speedway on November 4.
Sadler spoke to the sponsorship, saying,
"I'm proud to be with Dale's Pale Ale. Those guys have been a great partner of JR Motorsports the last couple years and they're definitely a fun group. I really appreciate their support of our team. It's neat to be partnered with those who want to do a good job, and it's time we celebrate with them in Victory Lane."
A little backstory on Dale's Pale Ale and Oskar Blues Brewery. The company began as a brewpub in 1997 in Lyons, Colorado, a town north of Boulder at the base of the Rockies, where they began brewing basement beer in 1999.
In 2002, they started canning Dale's Pale Ale in an unprecedented move that paid off because not only does Oskar Blues Brewery mean quality, it also means American-made beer. Ten years later, they opened a second location in Brevard, North Carolina.
Apart from DPA, their beers are excellent and made for easy drinking. My favorite easy beer, maybe on the planet, is their Mama's Little Yella Pils, which I carried with me on more than a few fishing adventures when I lived in Boulder. Personal experience, y'all.
As Chad Melis, Marketing Director at OBB told Men's Journal,
"It makes sense. There is a natural fit between American-made beer in a can and NASCAR fans. They're people we relate to. Being accessible and keeping it grassroots is what we are. Acting pretentious is never anything you'll see within our brand and our craft."
In today's day and age, craft beer somehow gets tangled into a hipster movement, and that reputation does not accurately describe the craft brewers who pioneered the industry because they wanted to just make good American-bred beer.
This is a huge victory for OBB and its DPA for a few reasons. Visibility and name recognition is one. NASCAR lists the benefits of receiving primary sponsorship status as:
Your Company will be recognized as the Primary Sponsor of one race car in up to thirty-five (35) NASCAR Nationwide Series events during the season. This will allow you to cover the hood, upper right and left rear quarter panels, the rear TV panel and on the dash board of the car with your company's graphics.
With a Primary Sponsorship your company will be on all the uniforms for the team including the driver's uniform, the entire pit crew and the crew chief for all sponsored races included in the term of the agreement season.
These are just two benefits to the whole shebang, but really what it comes down to a huge wave of support from an industry that's intrinsically linked with America, an important Heartland victory for a craft beer.
So the next time you settle in on race day, keep an eye out for Sadler in the Dale's Pale Ale No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro. I know I'll crack a cold Mama's Little Yella Pils in Oskar Blues' honor.