During episode 112 of the Barstool Sports podcast Spittin’ Chiclets last October, host and former NHL player Ryan Whitney mentioned his favorite vodka drink during an ad read: vodka and pink lemonade, which he dubbed the “Pink Whitney.”
Now, the podcast’s presenting sponsor, New Amsterdam Vodka, has released a specialty flavor based on the drink in partnership with Barstool. In the first month of the partnership between the two entities, New Amsterdam Vodka posed the question to Whitney and co-host Paul Bissonnette, so the brand progression makes sense, New Amsterdam Director of Marketing Michael Sachs said. The pink lemonade-flavored vodka will be available in stores, bars and arenas in September.
“Our partnership with Barstool Sports kicked off in a traditional way: digital advertising, podcast integration and events,” Sachs said. “Since the podcast integration with Spittin’ Chiclets has been a huge success and facilitated a dialogue with consumers, we decided to extend the partnership and create a product that both Barstool Sports as well as New Amsterdam Vodka fans would appreciate.”
With more than 575,000 downloads an episode, there’s a built-in customer base for the pink lemonade-flavored vodka, its black “Pink Whitney” label and the pink liquid. Flavored vodkas aren’t a new concept, and New Amsterdam already has a line that includes flavors like peach, pineapple, mango, red berry, coconut and orange.
According to Barstool, fans of the podcast have submitted pictures of drinking Pink Whitneys and bars serving them as specialty drinks. The response within the fanbase and hockey community put the opportunity on the table. Along with its position as the official vodka of Barstool Sports, New Amsterdam is also the official vodka of the NHL, furthering the brand’s connection to hockey.
“We were blown away by the immediate response to Pink Whitney once we mentioned it on Spittin’ Chiclets,” Whitney said. “We knew we had something when the fans started sending us pictures of their Pink Whitneys and when the bars and some NHL arenas started serving them as specialty drinks.”
With an audience of more than 80 million, Barstool Sports has a platform that appeals to brands like New Amsterdam. The media company’s continued foray into leveraging moments into revenue helps foster innovative partnerships like the new vodka flavor.
Barstool has been a media entity intent on turning its content into commerce, and having an ad read turn into a product is a path to market. Being a mixable product, vodka provided an easy canvas to take an idea from a conversation and pull together for a branded product.
The partnership demonstrates the innovative mindsets of the two companies and they’re working together to move beyond a “status quo sponsorship or media deal” to collaborate on a product that can move the needle and interest consumers, Barstool CRO Deirdre Lester said. Earlier this summer, the two companies partnered for a sweepstakes for a tailgate makeover.
“New Amsterdam has been fearless and has shown relentless commitment to growing their brand through Barstool Sports’ platforms,” Lester said. “This partnership and the results have already been beyond everyone’s expectations.”
Barstool has also branched out beyond its merchandise line more consistently recently, having launched the Barstool Classic golf tour this summer, a spinoff of its Fore Play podcast. Barstool also has held live shows, pay-per-view events and even released a comedy special.
As former NHL players, Bissonnette and Whitney have built a following with their insights into the league and hockey banter. Now the podcast can further build a connection with its fanbase with a product they enjoy.
“The growth of the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast in general has been crazy,” Bissonnette said. ”We’re lucky to have a presenting sponsor that can create a product that came from us organically, that all of our listeners enjoy and that we can bond over. Now, the hockey world has its John Daly.”