Gage Roads has continued its push into Australian sports grounds by signing a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Western Force.
And the arrangement with WA's premier rugby team again highlights the inconsistency in beer serving for WA sports fans.
Under the new contract Gage Roads' Alby brand of brews will be on offer at all World Series Rugby matches at NIB Stadium and other Rugby WA venues for the next two years.
So while rugby fans can enjoy a 4.2% Alby Draught while watching the Force, most attendees at Perth's major sports venue, Optus Stadium, will still be restricted to mid-strength beers from Gage Roads because of the facility's alcohol policy.
Gage Roads won the Optus Stadium beer supply contract last September in a major coup for the local operation and WA business - which was initially forecast by The Sip in July. However, in a move out of Gage Roads' hands, venue management has limited the range available to the general public to 3.5% brews, although the Alby Crisp, Atomic Pale Ale and Single Fin offerings have been well received by cricket and AFL fans.
The Western Force deal is the third break for Gage Roads into sporting venues. The Palmyra-based operation was also the beer supplier for the Sydney 7s rugby tournament in January.
Although it was dumped from the Super rugby competition late last year, the Western Force has lived on and been backed by billionaire businessman Andrew Forrest in a new world series. The team played Fiji last week.
Gage Roads's share price has risen over the past 12 months as the company also capitalises on its "Back to Craft" strategy, in which it bought back Woolworths 25 per cent stake in the business.
Managing Director John Hoedemaker, pictured above left, said the new deal would stretch to all parts of WA.
“This is a very exciting partnership for us, it complements our brand-in-hand marketing strategy and means we can supply our Alby range of beers to Rugby WA clubs across the State,” Hoedemaker said.
“The Western Force is a local institution, brought back to life and led by a passionate West Australian, Andrew Forrest. The Force’s popularity was highlighted last Friday when more than 19,000 fans turned out for their first home game at nib Stadium, where they convincingly beat the Fiji Warriors.
“Our sponsorship will prominently feature our equally parochial West Aussie lagers Alby Draught and Alby Crisp. Our Alby range of beers is the perfect fit and this partnership will provide excellent exposure for the Alby brands during the Rugby World Series. This partnership will also open the doors for Rugby WA clubs across West Australia to enjoy our proudly WA-made range of beers that will in turn support the Western Force.”
As part of the sponsorship deal, Western Force Head of Commercial Brad Paatsch, pictured above right, said all players will have the Alby logo on their shorts, signage around the ground and branding on the goal post padding.
“We are delighted to partner with Gage Roads - a proud, energetic West Australian company which produces fantastic local beers,” Paatsch, said. Ironically, Paatsch was working at Optus Stadium when the Gage Roads deal for the premier venue was signed.
“The partnership will deliver West Australian rugby fans a quality product and support this great game at a grassroots club level in the State.”
The Western Force will hold its next Rugby World Series game this Sunday at Perth’s NIB stadium.