Foothills Focuses on Marketing to Hometown Crowd After Deal with Wake Forest

Using its hometown college as a platform, Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is back on campus for Wake Forest this season. The brewery announced a two-year partnership with the university in August to serve its craft beer at school athletic events.

“The main focus for us is marketing, getting our name and our beer out in the community,” said co-owner Matt Masten. “But honestly it’s also to show support for another Winston-Salem institution. Sure we hope to make a profit, but it’s as much about supporting our home team as anything.”

Masten said that Foothills sponsored Wake Forest basketball several years ago, but this will be the first time that the brewery’s beer will be available at football and both men’s and women’s basketball. Wake Forest is also considering offering alcohol sales for baseball games, and men’s and women’s soccer matches.

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In a release, Jamie Bartholomaus, the brewery’s president and CEO, sees this as a “natural business partnership” that pairs the prestige and prominence of Wake Forest’s academics and athletics with the most award-winning brewery in North Carolina.

“To be invited to have our products available to Wake Forest fans is an honor, and a sponsorship we look forward to maximizing to its full potential,” Bartholomaus said.

A recent expansion grew the brewery’s capacity by 41 percent, giving Foothills plenty of room to produce enough beer for its new venture.

“They approached us about football two years ago, [but] at the time they were only offering craft beer in a small part of the stadium,” Masten said. “It wasn’t enough volume to be meaningful for us. But we’ve had ongoing dialogue, and eventually they opened up the entire stadium to beer sales, so it made sense.”

This partnership is part of a bigger initiative entitled ‘Made in Winston-Salem’, an effort by the athletic department to showcase local businesses on campus.

Foothills is also available where the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and NFL’s Carolina Panthers play along with having taps at a dozen different minor league ballparks.

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