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The Cincinnati Bearcats have a beer, now Ohio State needs one of their own

NIL is a new frontier, and Ohio State should be maximizing every area possible — including beer.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ohio State is not one to fall behind in any regard when it comes to maintaining the progressive nature needed to be a top football program. Unfortunately, they have fallen behind in an important area.

The Buckeyes’ NIL foundations have failed to partner with a brewery to create an NIL-themed drink. Even with concerns about early efforts from NIL foundations that Ohio State fans has, this to me signals the largest cause for alarm yet. Two schools Ohio State should be well ahead of announced to their fans that local breweries will be providing fine beverages and a chance to participate in funding an NIL foundation.

The University of Iowa partnered with local Exile Brewing Company, and the University of Cincinnati partnered with the Rhinegeist Brewery. Both are providing fans with themed beverages that should fit well into the game day experience. As a brewery, drinkability has to be the first goal. That is why the Cincy Light Lager from RhineGeist and the Swam Golden Ale from Exile are perfect for Saturdays.

This where the goal needs to meet for a future foundations, and I know there are plenty of avid beer drinkers involved. There is also a host of local breweries ranging in size scattered throughout Columbus and Central Ohio who would be dying to bridge a partnership from brewery to foundation to Ohio State football team. Surprisingly enough, this has not been accomplished as of now.

With the high number of breweries, the right fit is important, and being able to have an Ohio-wide reach like the program would be a the goal to make this most successful. There are only a few breweries around that can meet that threshold. For the Buckeyes to not only excel in the NIL game, but dominate the space, they need a beer.

Breweries in Columbus

Starting this off, the obvious beginning is finding a brewery with Columbus ties that also has the market share to supply Buckeye Nation. There are a ton of microbreweries and full size breweries in Columbus, all of which have their share of fancy beers and more traditional lagers, pilsners, and ales. There are only a few with the potential to fulfill this requirement, unfortunately there will be omissions of some local favorites.

Columbus Brewing Company

The Columbus Brewing Company has been in Columbus for 35 years after being founded in 1988. With their mission being to provide craft beer that defines Columbus, they have become an incredibly recognized craft beer brand throughout the midwest. Being a local company at their very soul, they support local non-profit organizations like Pelotonia and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

Their biggest hits include their IPA, Bodhi (Double IPA), the Columbus Lager, and ton of seasonal favorites like Citra Noel. These beers are staples in any Ohio restaurant and bar meaning the name recognition is there locally. The easiest route would be to change the Columbus Lager to the Buckeye Lager, and make it a year round beverage.

Seventh Son Brewing Co.

The Seventh Son Brewing Co. is local, a true microbrewery making high quality brews and providing local Columbus restaurants with high quality beers. A personal favorite is their Assistant Manager, a truly light and delicious golden ale built for the game day experience. Their share of IPA’s, stouts, and witbiers creates a versatile lineup for the consumer.

This brewery is a fit for this because the consistent quality of product, the size of the needed production could create a supply bottleneck though. Ohio State would create a huge demand for the Buckeye fans if they were to come out with an NIL beer. The quality would be there though, and if you’re like me that might matter more.

Saucy Brew Works

Saucy Brew Works is one of the newest players in the Ohio beer game being founded in 2017. There is not a beer company local or abroad in my eyes that does the themed beer better than Saucy Brew Works. Their seasonal beverages include Boo Thang – an imperial pumpkin ale – and a list of others that deserve recognition.

With how fast they’ve expanded, now in five cities throughout the Midwest, this is the perfect opportunity to build a project that can stamp their name as the player in the Ohio beer games.

Land-Grant Brewing Co.

Sharing the Land-Grant name means there might be some partiality here, but they have a lot of pre-existing connections to the Buckeyes and sports in general. Our guy BLeez pointed out the obvious to me that there is a natural partnership waiting to happen here given their beer selection. They have the Club Trill beer and the Stiff-Arm IPA with a red and gray design on the can. Their Columbus Crew themed beer Massive is a huge hit among locals and during Crew games.

Despite having the IPA’s and a collection of sport-themed beers, there needs to be a simpler flavor beer that fits more into the game day aesthetic. A light beer, or lager would be the play and the perfect drink for Saturdays in Buckeye nation. If Ohio State’s NIL foundations are looking for a partner, this would be the place to start.

Buckeye themed beverages

Now this is a quick section. There are tons of IPA’s and seasonal beers that could make for a fun Buckeye beer. The best beers are drinkable, they go down easy and they don’t make you feel like a balloon inflating with every sip. This is where the line needs to be drawn when comes to the creatives in the craft brewing industry. There’s a reason the best selling beers in America are lagers, pilsners, and ales.

No Stouts

The first rule for this is no Stout. The company would need to do well selling a beer and that means game day drinkability, whether at the game or another viewing area. Stouts are great for a relaxing night in, but no one say they want to crush a thick stout before a ball-game. One of the best beers I’ve had is Sonder Brewing’s Buckeye Stout, there is definitely a place for these, but the NIL beer for productivity purposes needs to be a more refreshing beer.


IPA’s are definitely a beer of an acquired taste. They are not for everyone, which is why they can’t be the official beer of an Ohio State NIL partnership. This beer needs to represent Buckeye Nation, and not just the beer drinkers who believe their taste is in a higher echelon because they drink a “craftier” beer.

Needs to be an Ale or Lager (preferably light)

That brings me to the final point. Like Cincinnati and Rhinegeist or Iowa and Exile, the best beer for this is a traditional pilsner or lager. The two most popular drinks among Ohio State fans at the stadium are Coors Light and Miller Lite. One is a lager, the other a pilsner, so in a sense this is the only way to go.

Final thoughts on the perfect pairing

Going with a smaller brewery than two of the major powers is the best way to go. Replacing a huge beer company with a local local brewery is not only a great representation of supporting local business, but would give Ohio State fans an additional reason to take pride in the program through their purchasing choice. This would be beneficial for the brewery and the program from a public relation standpoint.

As stated earlier the best type of beer is either a lager or a pilsner. The Buckeye Pilsner does not have a particular ring to it, but with the proper can design this can become the most appealing option of a Saturday beer drinker. With the NIL component involved the beer does not need to be complicated, if the beer is good, Ohio State fans will buy it in droves to help aid the programs financial standing in the NIL world.

Now for the fan who is 21 and over, this would need to be the beer of the tailgate, the barbecue, the pre-game block, and the beer you buy when you get into the stadium. Even if this beer is $8.00 vs. $6.50 Miller Lite, this beer would be helping an NIL foundation help the football program. Now I am not going to pick the brewery to take the bias out of the equation, but there are plenty of options with the capabilities to make Ohio State a respectable beer.

This is also not a place where I usually admit Iowa or UC were progressive in their ideas, but this was an awesome idea. Now it is time for an Ohio State NIL fund to leverage the local breweries and build the fund through incentivizing a crucial part of the fan experience for many people who attend and watch the Buckeyes play football.

The Buckeye faithful deserve a beer that represents them, and gives them a sense of pride that they are helping the program. If the Cincinnati Bearcats have one, Ohio State definitely needs a true beer of their own.