Despite varying reports on its quality as a lager, the Joe Paterno Legacy beers are selling quickly, to the tune of nearly one million cans in its first week, according to ESPN.
The beers have been so successful that its brewer, Duquesne Brewing Co., is working hard just to keep pace.
“We’re just trying to keep up with demand,” said Mark Dudash, the owner of the Latrobe, Penn. company in the ESPN article.
The beer, an American lager formally titled the Paterno Legacy Series, is sold in 12-ounce cans. It’s the brainchild of Jay Paterno and Duquesne Brewing, and was created to “build a brand,” according to Dudash. It’s certainly working so far despite only being sold in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“This isn’t a can collector’s series,” Dudash said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which first broke the story in June. “This is to build a brand. We’re originating it for football season, but if it is successful, it could go into taps or different kinds of beer. We took our time.”
According to ESPN, Dudash and his company at first worried that the drink wouldn’t sell, likely in part due to the former football coach’s contested legacy. But his initial projections were quickly, and for him fortunately, shattered.
“One distributor would order one palette, then the next day four palettes and then next day a half of a truckload,” Dudash told ESPN. “We had hoped by the fifth Penn State game to have sold 500 barrels worth. We’re up to 3,000 barrels already.”
Some quick math: A barrel holds 13.5 cases, each of which hold 24 beers. 3,000 barrels equals nearly 975,000 cans of beer.
Beer distributors in Penn State territory were also hesitant to sell the lagers.
“We didn’t want to get caught in a political battle,” said George Bradley, general manager of Westy Beer Distributors near Hassiburg, according to ESPN.
But Bradley’s retailers responded in a “shockingly positive” manner, and just like that Bradley told ESPN that he sold 2,000 cases in three days. And sales should only pick up: with football season beginning this weekend, there are bound to be countless tailgates stacked high with Paterno Legacy Series brews.