Boulder Beer Company got a nice surprise last Thursday when two of the actors in Parks and Recreation enjoyed a Flashback India Brown Ale during a scene in the sitcom. The beer -- a hoppy, roasty black IPA, weighing in at 6.6 percent AVB -- is available in both Indiana, where the show is set, and in California, where it is shot.
But its stardom may only be beginning.
In the most recent episode, titled "Halloween Surprise," Leslie Knope's love, Ben Wyatt, drinks the beer from his new gig in Washington, D.C. We won't give you any spoilers here, but we'll just say there's no telling if the beer helped Adam with the important decision he makes soon after sipping it.
We do have the full story on how the beer got to the set, however. "What happened was that someone in L.A. was a fan of our beers and decided to give us a call for placement in a movie," explains Boulder Beer spokesman Doug Christie.
The interested party in LA was Legacy Entertainment, which specializes in placing products in movies and on TV shows. "We went them a few different beers from our lineup...Hazed and Infused, Mojo, Flashback and Sweaty Betty," Christie says. "But we didn't know anything about Parks and Recreation. It was a surprise. I think what happens is that they are sitting around and other people can use them if they want to."
So, while Boulder Beer didn't pay for the appearance in Parks and Recreation, it is paying for some primo time in a comedy, which is set to come out in 2013. And what movie would that be? "They won't let us say," Christie explains. "But they gave us a breakdown of what the scenes would be like and what scenes they would be in. It will be prominently displayed."
This is the first time Boulder Beer has paid to be in a movie, although Boulder Beer wouldn't reveal exactly how much it doled out for the honor, Christie says he thinks the company got a pretty good deal.
He even shares with his boss.
Of course, product placement -- especially beer-product placement -- is nothing new in TV shows or the movies.
Just look at Heineken, which ramped up its ties to the James Bond franchise this year by having the superspy -- known for his martinis, shaken, not stirred -- drink one of its skunky beers in Skyfall, which comes out Friday.
But product placement that you don't have to pay for -- especially that a craft brewer doesn't have to pay for -- is something else entirely. In January 2010, for instance, actor Ray Romano and company pounded a lot of Dale's Pale Ale in an episode of Men of a Certain Age. That plug, shown below, was free.
We called Boulder Beer to ask if the Flashback flash was free, too, but have not yet heard back from the company spokesman.
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