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Ol' Crimson, Gardner Minshew featured in Cougar Collective beer ad to benefit NIL deals

Jeremy Crabtreeby:Jeremy Crabtree05/08/24


You can’t get more Washington State than Ol’ Crimson and Gardner Minshew.

So when it came time for the Cougar Collective to launch a beer to support the NIL collective, it only made sense to partner the Cougars’ iconic flag with one of the program’s most iconic players.

In a new commercial promoting Ol’ Crimson Legendary Lager produced by the Pike Brewing Company, Minshew – who recently signed with the Las Vegas Raiders after a 2023 Pro Bowl season with the Indianapolis Colts – is shown carrying the famous flag through a grassy field. A voice-over points out how Washington State fans have had to overcome a lot over the past year as it cuts to Minshew proudly waving the flag that’s become a staple of college football.

Thanks to conference realignment, Washington State is no longer a part of a power conference. But as Tim Brandle of the Cougar Collective told On3, funds raised for the collective through beer sales will be a game-changer.

“If there’s one thing that Cougs will always be Power 5 at, it’s drinking,” Brandle said, pointing out that funds sales will assist the collective with NIL opportunities for Washington State athletes.

How did Gardner Minshew ad come together?

As Brandle tells On3, the Cougar Collective team had a small window to film the commercial with Gardner Minshew.

“Gardner was in town for the CougsFirst! QB Classic golf tournament and the spring football game,” Brandle said. “When approached about the opportunity to represent the Cougar Collective and help with the commercial, he was on board, no questions asked.”

But there were questions about making it happen in the short amount of time Minshew was in town. With Minshew’s busy schedule as an NFL quarterback, it was essentially a now-or-never opportunity.

“Our film crew only had about 20 minutes with Gardner to film,” Brandle said. “He’s obviously a busy guy. But they made it work. We couldn’t be more proud of the way the commercial and beer launch turned out. Special thanks go to Gardner Minshew, Matt Chazanow and the team at Hurley Media for making this happen.”

Alcohol sales big trend in NIL landscape

This is hardly the first time collectives have produced a beer or branded alcohol to raise awareness, and most importantly, funds for NIL collectives.

Collectives across the country – such as the SWARM Golden Ale at Iowa, Ames Lager at Iowa State, Cincy Light at Cincinnati, Hell’s Half Acre Lager at TCU, The Horseshoe Golden Ale at Boise State and many others – have found that beer sales can be a big win for the collective.

For example, The Swarm Collective CEO Brad Heinrichs said the collective generated $30,000 in the first month alone of The SWARM Golden Ale sales. Collectives have also created their own brands of alcohol, including the Volunteer Club Vodka supporting The Volunteer Club at Tennessee.

NIL laws prevent athletes from promoting gambling, tobacco or alcohol, meaning you won’t see any current players promoting the collective’s beers or alcoholic beverages. However, that doesn’t stop former athletes like Gardner Minshew from appearing in promotions that will filter funds back to players through NIL agreements.

“It only made sense to have the man, the myth, the legend appear in the commercial for us,” Brandle said about Minshew, who finished fifth in the 2018 Heisman Trophy voting after setting Pac-12 Conference and school records for passing yards and completions.