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Volume 23 No. 17
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Corona Extra saddles up as Derby’s import beer

Churchill Downs has signed a multiyear deal with Constellation Brands’ Corona Extra making it the official import beer of the Kentucky Derby.

Additionally, Churchill Downs has signed Boston Beer Co.’s Angry Orchard as the official hard cider of the Kentucky Derby.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Churchill Downs expects to announce Kentucky Derby deals for craft, domestic beer soon.
Photo: Getty Images
Churchill Downs expects to announce Kentucky Derby deals for craft, domestic beer soon.
Photo: Getty Images
Churchill Downs expects to announce Kentucky Derby deals for craft, domestic beer soon.
Photo: Getty Images

Stella Artois had been the official beer of the race since 2012, but that deal has expired. Instead of replacing it with one beer sponsorship, Churchill Downs is selling sponsorships in the categories of import, hard cider, craft beer and domestic beer, said Kristin Warfield, Churchill Downs vice president of partnerships.

The Louisville, Ky.-based company was in discussions to finalize deals in the domestic beer and craft beer categories and expects to make announcements on those agreements in the coming weeks, Warfield said.

The Kentucky Derby is always run on the first Saturday in May. This year the 144th running of the race will occur on May 5, which is Cinco De Mayo, a big day for Corona, which originates from and is brewed in Mexico, said John Alvarado, Corona Extra vice president of marketing.

“It’s also appealing to us to continue to find ways to deliver memorable experiences for our consumers and bringing the iconic brand of Corona Extra along with the iconic brand of the Kentucky Derby together,” afforded us that opportunity, he said.

Corona Extra will host a beach party in the infield of the racetrack and may buy advertising on NBC during the race’s broadcast, he said.

Corona and Churchill executives negotiated the sponsorship agreement in-house.