It’s not Red Auerbach’s victory cigar, but Boston Celtics fans will soon have a new beverage to toast the team’s wins with.
Framingham brewery Jack’s Abby is partnering with the Celtics to create a signature beer, Pride and Parquet, to be released in the late fall or early winter. The collaboration is the first of its kind for both parties, who say the NBA franchise approached the brewery to start the conversation.
“We were talking to a couple different local craft [brewers],” says Ted Dalton, senior vice president of corporate partnerships and business development for the Celtics. “We approached Jack’s Abby on a partnership, but also asked, ‘Is there something we could do beyond your typical corporate relationship where we help drive value and we help drive sales?’ And immediately they jumped on the notion of creating a co-branded beer.”
Named in part after the Celtics’ famed parquet floor at TD Garden, Pride and Parquet will be an easy-drinking hoppy lager, something Jack’s Abby specializes in.
“The hoppy lager is something we’ve helped invent,” says Rob Day, Jack’s Abby’s senior director of marketing. “We get to bring that style, something real craft, to the table, whereas any of the other sports deals, you’re getting macro lagers.”
Asked what he thinks Jack’s Abby brings to the table over a traditional sports-beer partners like Anheuser-Busch, Day said, “Anheuser-Busch doesn’t go out and make a collaborative beer for the Celtics. They put up signage, run media. . . . This beer is a new recipe, it’s unique, and it’s the engine that drives the whole thing.”
Jack’s Abby fans may recognize at least the soul of Pride and Parquet, which is taken from the recipe for Calyptra, a beer that is no longer in production.
“We took inspiration from that beer, and we’re taking a new step with hops,” says Day. “We did a Brau series this year that allowed us to use Galaxy, Citra, and Nelson with clean Brau lagers. We’re doing a combination of some of the newer hops we’ve fallen in love with.”
Naming a basketball beer, it turns out, isn’t easy. Jack’s Abby initially brought a list of about 100 names to the table; all were rejected by the Celtics.
“Plays on ‘jump shot’ were too generic,” says Day. “One of our favorites that we couldn’t do was anything around “Lucky’s Lager.” We would have had a lot of fun with Lucky but it’s actually taken.
“We went back to the drawing board. We had four suggestions, they had 8 or 10. This name we came up with, Pride and Parquet, was on both of our lists.”
The pandemic has thrown off most things in life, but plans for the beer are coming together. For months, the Jack’s Abby folks circulated documents about the then-secret Celtics collaboration under the name “Project Bird.” Now, with the announcement official, a pilot batch sits in tanks. The brewers plan to taste it a week before Labor Day. The official release of the beer, timed with the start of what is hopefully the 2020-21 NBA season, is slated for December.