Arsenal FC has named Camden Town Brewery as the Premier League football club’s beer partner for the next three years, following north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur’s installation of Beavertown Brewery at its new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Camden Town Brewery is based two miles from the Emirates Stadium in Holloway, with Arsenal saying: “We are delighted to welcome local company Camden Town Brewery to the club as our official beer partner in the UK and Ireland.” The Champions Bar at the stadium will be rebranded as a Camden Town Brewery tavern, which is in no way a metaphor for anything about Arsenal’s recent success. The deal also grants the brewery rights to use Arsenal’s intellectual property and imagery across its brand channels, so expect that swish new Adidas kit to make some appearances.
Camden Town brewery founder and Arsenal supporter Jasper Cuppaidge said:
If you’d have told me 10 years ago that the beer I was creating in my basement in North London would one day be the beer of Arsenal Football Club - the club I love - I would have thought you were crazy.
This deal, and Tottenham’s deal with Beavertown, are more than symptomatic of football’s fierce localism. While Premier League football’s culinary influence may have previously extended to prawn sandwiches and projectile pizza, the space between clichés about the staid corporate catering of the executive box and the polystyrene burger boxes of the terraces could be fertile ground for a more creative, more contemporary, less cynical look at football’s beholden relationship to commercial trends and movement of capital.
It’s perhaps best typified by quarterly magazine Mundial’s exploration of football culture from a perspective that separates the culture from its commodification; by Arsenal hiring illustrator and Being a Dickhead’s Cool creator Reuben Dangoor for its kit launch; by two Premier League clubs banking on brands originally built on craft beer, artisanal counterculture, and local values. They’re now owned by global investors and backed by millions of pounds, but then, so are Arsenal and Tottenham; Heineken and Ab InBev’s (the world’s biggest drinks company) investment in Beavertown and Camden Town respectively is, undoubtedly, indispensable when it comes to executing deals at this scale — and probably a reason why Islington’s Hammerton Brewery wasn’t considered — but then, aren’t these beers better than Carlsberg?