Crabbie’s takes reins of Grand National28th August, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
Crabbie’s has become the latest drinks brand to take over sponsorship of the Grand National in a move that will see the historic UK horse race’s prize money break the £1 million barrier for the first time.
The brand’s owner Halewood International has signed a three-year deal with Aintree racecourse and the Jockey Club which will see the alcoholic ginger beer become official title sponsor of the Grand National Festival, with its feature race renamed the Crabbie’s Grand National.
The partnership will enable the brand to reach a UK television audience of 9m on top of the estimated 600m people worldwide who watch the race and the three-day April festival’s 150,000-strong crowd. Crabbie’s aims to extend the impact of this sponsorship still further through a new international marketing campaign.
While Crabbie’s has already cultivated a number of sporting links, including Hibernian FC, West Bromwich Albion FC, Everton FC and the Scottish Golf Open, the Halewood family has had particularly close links to the Grand National since the late John Halewood’s horse Amberleigh House won the race in 2004.
His partner and current chairwoman of Halewood International, Judy Halewood, became the only woman to have bred, trained and owned a runner in the event with her horse Harley, who finished 12th back in 1991.
Declaring an ambition to take the race “to another level,” Halewood International’s deputy chairman Peter Eaton said: “The Grand National is a unique race with massive global reach and represents a perfect partnership for Crabbie’s and our UK and international ambitions.
“The brand is already enjoying considerable success in the USA, Canada and Australia and is the number one bottled ale in the UK and from a company and family perspective, we are delighted to renew our longstanding relationship with Aintree.”
John Baker, regional director of Aintree & the north west for Jockey Club Racecourses, described Crabbie’s as “one of the most exciting, fun and relevant brands in the UK.”
Outlining future plans for the race with this new sponsor, he said: “We’ve agreed a deal with a partner who shares our passion and vision for the Grand National, with the ambition to use it as a major promotional platform and, in the process, help us to reach new heights of popularity for our British sporting crown jewel in the years ahead.”
Now in its 167th year, the Grand National has been sponsored by various drinks firms ever since a partnership with Seagram began in 1984. The deal was later taken over by Martell Cognac, at the time a Seagram subsidiary, before beer brand John Smith’s became sponsor from 2005 until now. The Crabbie’s sponsorship will begin with the 2014 festival, which runs from 3-5 April, and continue until the end of the 2016 event.