Kentucky Derby adds two beer partners in sponsorship shake-up

Angry Orchard and Corona Extra become race’s official hard cider and import beer.

Kentucky Derby adds two beer partners in sponsorship shake-up

The Kentucky Derby has announced sponsorships with Angry Orchard and Corona Extra, which will respectively become the official hard cider and import beer of the prestigious US horse race.

The partnerships come as the home of the Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack, has divided up its beer sponsorship after ending a six-year partnership with Stella Artois.

The financial terms and length of the new deals were not disclosed, although Kristin Warfield, vice president of partnerships at the racetrack, confirmed they are all multi-year deals. 

Two more beer sponsors - a craft beer and a domestic beer partner - will be named at a later date.

The Derby, which attracts about 19 million television viewers and a live audience of more than 160,000 attendees, coincides with Mexican annual celebration Cinco de Mayo, making it an attractive proposition for Corona.

"For Corona, Cinco de Mayo is our unofficial start to summer, and we will be bringing the fiesta and beach vibes to the infield at the historic Kentucky Derby," said John Alvarado, vice president of marketing for Corona Extra.

"We are excited to be a part of this legendary race, and we look forward to joining the fun and inviting fans to celebrate with us to make this Cinco and Derby weekend the best yet."

As part of the tie-up with the Mexican beer brand, Derby guests will be able to join in on the Corona de Mayo fiesta on the Churchill Downs infield.

Corona officials also will have retail promotions throughout the US as part of the sponsorship and will be hosting Derby viewing parties as well as promoting the race through its social media networks.

The shake-up with beer sponsors is the latest in a series of partnership changes for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Bourbon brand Woodford Reserve has replaced Yum Brands Inc as the presenting sponsor of the Derby while Coca-Cola is now the official soft drink sponsor of the Derby, replacing Pepsi.