June 30, 2022
Ty Dilello – The Niverville Citizen
Last week, it was announced that the Niverville Nighthawks would partner up with Torque Brewing to create a unique lager beer for the team’s inaugural season.
Torque Brewing is about to celebrate its sixth anniversary as a company. Since day one, they have made it a rule to partner with local institutions and sports organizations for fundraisers, sponsorships, and other forms of support.
Making great beer and giving back to the community has always been its mission.
Over a year ago, when it was clear that Niverville would be home to the newest team in the MJHL, the people behind the nascent team identified a number of key revenue drivers to consider. Of course, one of those was the beer that would eventually be sold at home games.
A traditional system of beer supply and sale would see the Nighthawks purchase beer from a supplier and resell it at games for a markup, with the proceeds covering the cost of goods, staffing, licensing, bar infrastructure, and security, in addition to contributing to the team’s operating budget.
“I could see the potential for a very unique partnership beyond the traditional supply and sale model,” says Ray Dowse, vice-president of the Niverville Nighthawks board of directors. “It just required the right brewery to partner with who had a similar vision of the potential opportunity. Over the course of several months, [fellow board member] Jeremy Braun and I spoke with a number of different breweries about the opportunity in Niverville with our new MJHL team, each of whom discussed ideas and options to consider. But there was one brewery that really recognized the scope of the potential partnership with the Nighthawks and could embrace and build on the vision to create something unique for the team and community.”
Torque Brewing started chatting with the Nighthawks last year, proposing to brew a co-branded beer to be served in the arena, as well as at local establishments, beer vendors, and liquor marts. The idea is to support the community and local sports, using a local product while offering a great experience to hockey fans.
“My first conversation with Torque was with one of the owners in early summer 2021,” says Dowse. “This was before the team had even considered name options, as we were just getting the details of the new franchise finalized with the MJHL. West Hawk Lake in the Whiteshell is a place my family will frequent as a camping destination in summer, and one of the owners of Torque also has a cottage in the Whiteshell, so our first meeting to discuss the opportunity took place at the lake when we were both out one weekend.”
It just so happened that the pair met at the Nite Hawk Cafe in West Hawk Lake for their first real meeting. In hindsight, that was a sign of things to come.
“From that initial meeting, we continued to add ideas and concepts and built on the details of how this partnership could come together,” Dowse adds. “Over the course of many months of dialogue, we were able to complete our agreement, which was incredibly exciting! From the beginning, the Torque ownership group, their board of directors, and management team clearly understood that this was not just a contract to sell beer, but an investment into the team and the region.”
The partnership between Torque and the Nighthawks is billed as a win-win, as it will build up awareness about the league. And it will work as a fundraiser, with a portion of the profits benefiting the Nighthawks organization.
Part of the agreement includes an exclusive Nighthawks-branded beer, which is something both Torque and the Nighthawks board of directors are excited to see roll out to the public this summer.
Adam Olson, co-founder of Torque Brewing, is one of the faces behind this partnership.
“It has been a pleasure to plan and organize this partnership, from the first draft to the final stages,” says Olson. “After a lot of hard work and heart that the Nighthawks and their crew put into their area, we are more than excited to see the beer pouring and the crowd cheering.”
Matthew Wolff, vice-president of operations at Torque, agrees. “The connection between beer and sports is centuries old, and there is no better way to cheer the team than sipping a Nighthawk lager while watching the game.”
The Nighthawk lager will be available in 30-litre kegs and 355-millilitre cans. Stay tuned for an announcement this summer about when the Nighthawk beer will be available at a store or pub near you.
“It’s been a lot of work to get to this stage,” says Dowse, “but we are looking forward to seeing the next steps come together as our partnership continues to grow and evolve over the coming months and years.”