- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
As Tampa Bay Lightning fans drink up their team’s second straight Stanley Cup, they’ll soon be able to sip beer made from the ice on which they won it.
Coors Light has used ice collected from the rink at Amalie Arena during the Stanley Cup Final to brew “Champions Ice,” a limited-edition beer. It will be available on tap in Tampa area bars and in 32-ounce collectable crowlers starting the week of July 12 — including on the day of the Lightning’s Stanley Cup parade.
To get the ice for the brewing process, Coors used the shavings collected by the Lightning Ice Crew in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens. They put the shavings in stainless steel hydro-flasks and shipped them overnight to their brewery in Golden, Colorado.
The Lightning gave its blessing to Coors, the official beer of the team, to brew with the rink ice. This isn’t the first time a team has repurposed its ice. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks are among the teams that bottled it and sold it for charity. It was made into ice pops during the 2014 NHL playoffs by a broadcast partner. But Coors Light claims this is the first beer made using actual ice from a Stanley Cup Final game.
“We thought it’d be awesome to celebrate with the people in Tampa by creating a special batch of Coors Light for them to enjoy, created from the ice where the Lightning put all of their blood, sweat and tears into winning the championship,” Chris Steele, marketing director for Coors Light, told ESPN on Wednesday.
Of course, blood and sweat can often be found on the ice during NHL games — among other substances. But Steele said the water used to create “Champions Ice” beer has been processed and cleansed.
“We did an official de-ick-ifying,” said Steele. “But in all seriousness, what is being shipped to Tampa Bay has gone through all our food and safety requirements. We took the ice, passed it though several different, incredibly effective filters. We filtered out the unhealthy stuff. But the magic and the spirit of the Tampa Bay Lightning are still in it.”
In order to turn it around quickly for the Lightning victory, Steele said they brewed “a high gravity version of Coors Light” with between 7-8% alcohol, which was then blended down to 4.2% using the water from the rink they collected. “That allowed us to cut significant time out from the brewing process, which is a few weeks,” he said.
They produced a run of 55 half-barrels of beer that will be distributed to Coors Light’s accounts in Tampa. Steele said he hopes the unique brew brings Lightning fans to bars and other establishments that are still rebounding from the economic hit taken during the COVID pandemic.
“We really wanted to help support the businesses in Tampa Bay as they bounce back,” he said, “and they’ll also have Coors Light available for those who aren’t quite up to consuming hockey rink ice.”
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