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This article was published 29/9/2015 (2135 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba's three craft breweries will be a lot busier than they expected during Grey Cup Week.
That's because Half Pints Brewing, Farmery Brewing and Fort Garry Brewing will be the official providers of suds during the Grey Cup Festival.
The province is reportedly covering the costs of the beer sponsorship for the 20 events, which will run from Nov. 25 until the opening kickoff Nov. 29. The Grey Cup game will be played at Investors Group Field.
Jason Smith, president of the Grey Cup Festival, said his team had been looking for opportunities to partner with local businesses, and the trio of craft brewers made sense.
"We approached the three companies to see if they'd be interested, and we are pleased to have them involved. This partnership is a great way to showcase Manitoba-made products to thousands of visitors from across the country and to fans right here at home," he said.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries brokered a deal for the three craft brewers, said Chris Warwaruk, co-owner of Farmery.
"Any one of us wouldn't be able to do it on our own, so we thought, why couldn't the three local craft beer makers do something for the Grey Cup when it's in our backyard?" he said.
The province was reportedly set to issue a news release about the deal with the craft brewers next week.
David Rudge, brewmaster at Half Pints, said he's excited to give beer drinkers more choice leading up to the Grey Cup game.
"Most people understand craft beer is a high-quality beer, so they don't feel so bad paying $10 a beer, as opposed to fizzy yellow plonk," he said.
"We're saying, 'Here's the beer; if you like it, buy it, if you don't, no big deal.' At least there's something available to you that's higher quality than you could get before. It means a lot to the local brewers to sponsor Canadian football. It's what we do."
Most of the time, the major breweries snag these deals. One exception is Great Western Brewing Company, the Saskatoon-based brewer that was an official sponsor when the Grey Cup game was played in Regina in 2013.
Jeff Ryan, senior director of corporate affairs at Labatt Breweries of Canada, confirmed it submitted a proposal to sponsor the Grey Cup Festival.
"It was not accepted," he said.
The primary agreement is between the Grey Cup Festival and the three brewers, but Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries will also be involved to lend a hand.
"Some of our support is financial and some of it is marketing to make sure these products are featured and promoted right up to the Grey Cup," ML&L spokeswoman Andrea Kowal said. "Craft beer is so popular now, everybody is really excited this is being done."
Some of the Grey Cup Festival events include the Nissan Titan Street Festival, the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Fan Fest, Touchdown Manitoba, as well as team-specific events, such as Riderville (Saskatchewan) and the Lions Den (B.C.).
And considering the party-all-the-time attitude of many football fans, there may even be demand for a few beers at the Blue Bomber breakfast.