Tampa Bay Bucs pick Clearwater brewery's Bloody Mary mix for fans

With crowds returning to Raymond James Stadium, Bucs fans will be able to enjoy a new take on a Bloody Mary with beer backer.
  
Homegrown craft beer brewery Big Storm Brewing’s Blood Brothers cocktail mix is now the “official Bloody Mary mix” of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and available on game day at select locations in the stadium.
 
Big Storm L.J. Govoni says the brewery had the vision to boost sales and distribution when it purchased Blood Brothers, a fellow Clearwater company, from its family owners and founders earlier this year. A high-profile partnership with an NFL team can only help that effort.

“I can tell you I did not think the Bucs would be a realistic opportunity for a company Blood Brothers size,” Govoni says. “This is a massive marketing opportunity. I expect 10 to 20 times exponential growth from this partnership.”

Big Storm and the Bucs had a business relationship in place -- some of the brewery’s beers are sold at home games -- before the team approached with the new proposal. Govoni sees it as one piece of the NFL franchise’s larger commitment to helping the local economy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“To their credit, they are genuinely trying to work with and help small businesses in the Tampa Bay area during this pandemic,” he says.

Right now, the Blood Brothers mix is available at limited locations in the stadium. Because of COVID, attendance for this season will also be limited to just a fraction of capacity. But Govoni says Blood Brothers has a multi-year agreement with the team. While the arrangement is currently limited to Bucs games, he’s hopeful it will expand to other events at Raymond James if Blood Brothers sells as he anticipates.

The notion of an official Bloody Mary mix might seem a bit unusual, but it is not unique. The Dallas Cowboys, Princess Cruises, and the Women’s U.S. Open golf tournament are just a few businesses or events that have bestowed the title in the past.

The agreement with the Bucs continues a year of change and success for Blood Brothers. Big Storm bought into the company last year and then purchased full ownership this year. Govoni says they were initially attracted to Blood Brothers because the company had a “phenomenal product” that features handmade clamato as a base and a robust mix of spices. Over the past 12 months, Blood Brothers has won eight awards at big-time industry events such as the Drunken Tomato International Bloody Mary competition, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and the New York International Spirits Competition.

“The awards speak for themselves, I think,” Govoni says. “We’ve gone toe-to-toe with the national brands.”

He says Big Storm is using its distribution partners and business contacts to grow Blood Brothers beyond the “small but loyal fan base of bars and restaurants” the mix had before the brewery bought it. Tampa Bay-based Luekens Fine Wine & Liquors has carried the mix for years as well. A looming goal is to get Blood Brothers on the shelf at Publix or another grocery store in the state, Govoni says.

“Looking ahead, we think that is one of the most important things we can do,” he says.

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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry is a freelance writer living in Clearwater. Chris spent more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys our local music scene, great weather, and Florida's wealth of outdoor festivals.
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