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Sly Fox Brewing Dad Vail Pale Ale

May 9, 2014

Story by Kevin Rossi, Sport Management '14

Dad VailBeer's perfect pairing has long been sports. The two connect to create an intersection at hospitality, sports and culinary, which are three major areas of study in Drexel University's Center for Hospitality and Sport Management.

The 76th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta will race on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10. Drexel will look to defend their 2013 overall team title, and amongst the Drexel rowers will be a handful of Drexel HSM students. And somewhere amongst the hundred-plus competing colleges and universities, thousands of spectators and various hospitality tents there will be beer. But one of the choices won’t be just any beer. Sly Fox Brewing Company has put together a special brew specifically for the prestigious regatta: the Dad Vail Pale Ale.

Sly Fox, located less than an hour outside of Philadelphia in Phoenixville, Pa., has become a mainstay in the region with its extensive line of craft beers, known for breaking down many industry barriers for canned craft beers. Now nearly 20 years old, Sly Fox has found that sports are a great platform that aligns with the creative and fanatical characteristics of its own consumers.

“Sports and craft beer go together like an empty field and a bunch of kids: they both let your imagination run wild,” Christine Fisher, an industry veteran and beer ambassador at Sly Fox, said, “Sports aren't just about action; it's about narrative, and we see that over and over again in craft beer. People aren't just interested in flavors, labels and ABVs, just like there's more to sports than the sport itself, trading cards and stats.”

The Dad Vail works no differently than other sports. Plus, the regatta presents an intense Philly feeling of pride and belonging. Sly Fox knows its roots grew not too far from the Schuylkill’s historic waters that have become home to countless regattas over the years.

“The Dad Vail Regatta and Philadelphia go hand in hand,” Fisher continued. “Just like the Dad Vail, Sly Fox is anchored here in the Philly area. We're interested in helping local traditions thrive and grow, as much as we want our own company to do the same.”

But surely they only chose to make the Dad Vail-themed beer a pale ale because it gave the name a gratuitous ring, right? Wrong. Sly Fox is far more cunning than that. Aside from the rhythm and rhyme, a pale ale serves as a sessionable and refreshing ode to rowing’s roots.

“Pales Ales are by nature both refreshing and low-alcohol,” Fisher said. “When considering what kind of beer to serve the variety of people who will visit the beer tent, we know that hoppy beers are a huge part of the craft beer market.  Instead of doing a strong IPA--not the best beer to drink after a race--we went with a Pale Ale.” 

She continued, “There will be other beer options at the event but this beer is the perfect match for a regatta. In England, Pale Ales are everywhere, and rowing has a lot of roots and history in England.”

Rowing is far from the only sport to catch onto the craft craze. Baseball and soccer, two other warm-weather sports, have been at the forefront of bringing craft beer to sports fans. There’s no stopping the growth, either. As more fans across a wider variety of sports demand more craft beer options, the future of the pairing looks to have no limits.

“I see more of the two coming together,” Fisher concluded. “As more people demand great craft beer at their stadium or ballpark, the two will have a future. And they'll always have a future in the hands of a craft beer fan watching the game from the couch.”

When you head down to the Schuylkill River this weekend to take in some Dad Vail action, Sly Fox’s Dad Vail Pale Ale will be the only beer choice brewed specifically for your day on the water.