The Welsh Rugby Union has announced a significant partnership extension with Welsh brewer and hospitality retailer Brains and the UK’s leading lager and cider producer Heineken which will stretch through to the summer of 2018.
Pictured (LtoR) Glyn Glover, regional sales director for Heineken, Dan Lydiate, WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Alun Wyn Jones and Scott Waddington, CEO of SA Brain
Both organisations continue as official suppliers to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, with Heineken adding sponsorship of the Foster’s Challenge Cup and continuing to give their name to the Foster’s National 7s competition.
Brains began working with the WRU in 2004, when they became the first Welsh brand to sponsor the senior team jersey – the Brains name was emblazoned on shirts during a period in which Wales won two Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008 and in 2010 Brains switched its sponsorship, becoming ‘official ale of the WRU’.
The new deal also sees National Dual Contract players being appointed as brand ambassadors to a WRU partner for the first time with Dan Lydiate joining the Heineken team and Alun Wyn Jones representing Brains.
The partnership extension was celebrated at a ‘pub quiz night’ at Principality Stadium this week, when international referee Nigel Owens compered an evening of revelry which saw both players put through their paces as barmen serving special guests from the two companies who have renewed their investment in Welsh rugby.
“Both Brains and Heineken have significantly invested in Welsh rugby and their continued long term support is vital to us as we plan for the future and continue to grow our national game at all levels,” said WRU chairman Gareth Davies.
“As partners and suppliers they play a significant role in maintaining the quality of the matchday experience at Principality Stadium, not just with the provision of product but with the resources they devote to stadium Fanzones.
“But also outside of event days they help us engage with Welsh rugby supporters with campaigns like the ‘Real Welsh legends’ from Brains and ‘It’s Your Call’ from Heineken.
“Both brands have become synonymous with Welsh rugby and help provide the much needed funds which help us not only safeguard its future but ensure that our national game continues to thrive in communities around the country.”
Alun Wyn Jones said: “I’m looking forward to working with the team at Brains and seeing what they have in store for me. The brand has become synonymous with Welsh rugby over the years and their sponsorship of the national jersey in 2005 and 2008 in particular will be embedded into the psyche of all Welsh rugby fans for many years to come. They could have been forgiven for leaving us on a high in 2010, but instead they have continued to invest in different areas of the game and they are and will continue to be a highly valued partner.
Dan Lydiate said: “As players we don’t often look too far past what is happening on the pitch or our own preparations for the next big match, but we do appreciate the support of organisations like Heineken. They enhance the Welsh rugby experience for supporters, but they also invest heavily in the game making sure competitions like the Foster’s National 7s and the Foster’s Challenge Cup can help grow the game, producing players and supporters for the future.
Chris Jowsey, on-trade sales director for HEINEKEN says: “We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union. HEINEKEN is still very much a family company and with that, we share similar values with the Welsh Rugby Union – from our shared desire for excellence and success, through to our integrity in everything we do.
“Since we started the partnership in 2012, we have seen the Stadium go from strength to strength. We helped them deliver a fantastic Rugby World Cup in 2015, which saw eight international fixtures, we have hosted five Heineken® Cup Finals and we are looking forward to helping them host the Stadium’s first Champions’ League Final in June 2017.
“With our great range of beers and ciders available, including Heineken®, Strongbow and Foster’s, we look forward to working with the Welsh Rugby Union to deliver world class events over the coming years.”
Bruce Newman, Head of Marketing at Brains said: “After 12 very successful years of sponsorship of the Welsh Rugby Union we are delighted to announce a further extension. Welsh rugby and Brains beer are both iconic Welsh entities and we are looking forward to working closely together in the coming years and in particular with our brand ambassador, Alun Wyn Jones.”