Jay Talley, the Founder and CEO of Legends Beer, is hoping that creative artwork and innovative packaging will help propel his brand into a national spotlight.
The brand, which is centered on strategic partnerships with various “legends,” features iconic athletes as the main selling-point for a 4.7 percent ABV premium lager – sold in 16 ounce aluminum bottles.
But don’t be fooled by the branding alone. Talley, who admits they aren’t looking to attract the typical beer geek, believes their product could stand alone without the artwork.
“Our customer appreciates a good beer, but they aren’t buying the artisanal craft beer,” he said. “If you are one of those drinkers that likes a quality product, you will taste Legends and you will like it — and that is what we are after.”
Talley, who formed Legend Beverage in October of 2009, had an existing recipe from his days as a homebrewer that he began tweaking for large scale production.
“We never wanted to be viewed as a gimmick,” he said. “To avoid that, we spent all of our time on brewing to make sure our product was superior.”
In 2010, only a small amount of beer was produced for sample purposes and in June of 2011 the brand finally earned placement in a select number of Albertson’s stores.
But Talley, looking at the big picture, sees his brand working best at the on-premise level and is targeting sporting events nationwide as his primary venue.
“We would love to be a league sponsor at some point” he said. “We are interested in playing a role with Michael Jordan’s event in Las Vegas next year and would really love to work with NASCAR.”
His goal — give the big brewers a run for their money.
“This is American owned, American brewed and we think we can compete with some of the ‘macro’s’.”
And while his sales certainly won’t compete on the same level of an AB-InBev or MillerCoors, Talley believes that many of their customers will find a much more enjoyable taste with Legends.
“We are a smooth drinking, crisp, nice-finish lager,” he said. “We think that there are a lot of people that are drinking Bud Light, that would taste our product and find that it is not too heavy but has more flavor.”
And beer aside, Talley believes that employing the use of legendary figures in the sporting world will help him differentiate his brand in an already crowded marketplace.
“We have contracts with the athletes or their estate,” he said. “We think there are legends in every market that people want to celebrate.”
Existing bottles feature Larry Holmes, Gordie Howe, Peter Townend, Brett Hull and Tony Dorsett, and Talley is in talks with 30 other athletes. The beer is currently contract-brewed through Skyscraper Brewing but will soon be moved to City Brewing in Memphis, TN.
Legends is currently only available in California but will be launching in Texas before the end of the year. In addition, Talley plans to introduce 16 ounce cans for off-premise sales, and reserve the 16 ounce aluminum bottles specifically for on-premise accounts. Talley has forecasted for $4.8 million in sales for 2012.