Constellation Brands, Boston Beer Ink Kentucky Derby Sponsorships

At the end of January, Constellation Brands announced that its Corona Extra brand would become the exclusive import beer of the Kentucky Derby for the next two years.

The deal, according to John Alvarado, Constellation’s vice president of marketing, was driven in part by the date of this year’s race: May 5 (Cinco de Mayo).

“We really look to our consumers when making decisions like this,” he wrote to Brewbound via email. “They’re already celebrating both holidays, and our distributors are always looking for differentiators to activate in the field. It felt like a great opportunity for us.”

As part of the deal, Constellation has exclusive “imported beer” marketing rights throughout the entire weekend, and the company will be allowed to use Kentucky Derby marks for promotional purposes.

In addition to promoting its sponsorship of the race via retail point-of-sale materials throughout the U.S., Constellation will sponsor Derby viewing parties and set up an infield “activation zone” at Churchill Downs, the site of the race.

“We’ll activate at retail in markets where it makes sense for our consumers,” Alvarado told Brewbound.

The opportunity to sponsor the “most exciting two minutes in sports” for the next two years will give Constellation a chance to connect with drinkers at an event more closely associated with Mint Juleps and extravagant hats – not lagers and sombreros. In fact, the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby is Woodford Reserve, a brand of Kentucky whiskey owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation.

“We are always looking for unique opportunities to excite our consumers and create occasions where they can enjoy memorable experiences with friends and family,” Alvarado wrote. “As a part of our ongoing efforts to find sponsorships and partners that we can develop those opportunities with, the Kentucky Derby seemed like a great fit.”

Angry Orchard, which is owned by Boston Beer Company, also signed on as the official cider of the Kentucky Derby. Two other sponsors – a craft beer and a domestic beer – have not yet been named.

“Many properties are recognizing the value of multiple partners in this space – that’s worked for us very well as its opened-up Corona to many new opportunities,” Alvarado said. “With our sports teams and venue sponsorships, we think, ultimately, it’s a big win for consumers and our brand alike.”

Stella Artois, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, had sponsored the Kentucky Derby for the last six years.

A press release with additional information is included below.

Corona Extra® Brings the Fiesta to Churchill Downs with Kentucky Derby Sponsorship Deal for Cinco de Mayo

Chicago, Jan. 29, 2018 – Corona Extra® today proudly announced it has signed on as the Official Import Beer of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, which occurs over Cinco de Mayo weekend for the next two years. This is the brand’s first sponsorship of the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” As the nation’s No. 1 imported beer that’s long-been synonymous with Cinco de Mayo celebrations, the brand will invite Kentucky Derby fans to join in the fiesta, too.

“For Corona, Cinco de Mayo is our unofficial start to summer, and we will be bringing the fiesta and beach vibes to the infield at the historic Kentucky Derby,” said John Alvarado, vice president of marketing for Corona Extra. “We are excited to be a part of this legendary race, and we look forward to joining the fun and inviting fans to celebrate with us to make this Cinco and Derby weekend the best yet!”

As part of its sponsorship, Kentucky Derby attendees can join the Corona de Mayo fiesta at brand’s activation zone in the Churchill Downs infield. Corona will also be activating retail point-of-sale throughout the U.S., sponsoring Derby viewing Cinco de Mayo parties, and developing fun and engaging social content for fans to join in.

Each year, the Kentucky Derby® draws in approximately 19 million viewers and 160,000 attendees for one of the biggest sports events in the country. This sponsorship is a natural evolution of new and unexpected ways for the brand to elevate the Cinco de Mayo weekend and bring together two of the biggest celebrations for an unforgettable weekend.

“We’re excited to partner with Corona and to offer a new infield experience to our guests at the Derby,” said Kristin Warfield, Vice President of Partnerships at Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Derby weekend is something our fans and guests look forward to all year, and now with this partnership, we’re able to bring that Cinco de Mayo energy Corona is known for to the celebration this year.”

The Kentucky Derby is North America’s oldest continuously-held sporting event, having been run every year at Churchill Downs since 1875. The legendary race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds offers a $2 million-guaranteed purse. The 144th running will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

Follow @CoronaExtraUSA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information. As always, Corona encourages consumers to enjoy its products and relax responsibly.

About Corona Extra

Corona Extra is a pilsner-style lager with a golden hue that was first brewed in Mexico in 1925. The refreshing flavor and carefree attitude of Corona have made it the #1 imported beer in the U.S. and the #5 beer brand overall. 2016 was a record-breaking sales year for the brand.Corona has been helping consumers “Find their Beach” in the U.S. since 1981. Corona Extra is exclusively brewed, imported and marketed by Constellation Brands for the U.S. market.

About Constellation Brands

Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) (NYSE:STZ.B), a Fortune 500® company, is a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Constellation is the No. 3 beer company in the U.S. with high-end, iconic imported brands such as Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Pacifico. The company’s beer portfolio also includes Ballast Point, one of the most awarded craft brewers in the U.S. In addition, Constellation is the world leader in premium wine, selling great brands that people love, including Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Mark West, Franciscan Estate, Ruffino and The Prisoner. The company’s premium spirits brands include SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila and High West Whiskey.Based in Victor, N.Y., the company believes that industry leadership involves a commitment to brand building, our trade partners, the environment, our investors and to consumers around the world who choose our products when celebrating big moments or enjoying quiet ones. Founded in 1945, Constellation has grown to become a significant player in the beverage alcohol industry with more than 100 brands in its portfolio; about 40 wineries, breweries and distilleries; and approximately 10,000 talented employees. We express our company vision: to elevate life with every glass raised. To learn more, follow us on Twitter @cbrands and visit

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