If you go to an Edmonton Elks game this year, you will notice something new on the beverage service side.
You might find a green shed with antlers on it. Inside the shed is a trove of ready-to-serve Caesars, from Rig Hand Distillery.
The ready-to-drink cocktail craze is in full swing, from fruity vodka drinks to seltzers. But a Caesar presents a unique challenge when it comes to canning a drink: For a Caesar to work, you need the seasoning and salt rim. And how do you rim… a can?
Rig Hand found a way to do it. The can is covered by a plastic lid. Pop off the lid, and you reveal the seasoning that rims the top of the can.
While the Caesars aren’t exclusive to Elks games, the fact that they’re able to be served at Commonwealth is part of a unique partnership between the football team and Rig Hand. Former Elks president Victor Cui and Rig Hand Distillery President Geoff Stewart have been friends since they were teenagers. Before Cui and the Elks parted ways halfway through the 2023 season, his mission was to show Edmontonians that the team is engaged with the community, even though there are long-standing exclusivity deals in place at Commonwealth Stadium for beverage giants Coca-Cola and Molson Coors.
But Caesars are a different game, and Rig Hand is taking the opportunity to show off the cocktail and the unique can to football fans.
“It’s an uphill battle when you’re fighting against these companies that have had a stranglehold on the industry for 85 years, the big Smirnoffs of the world,” says Stewart. “Us small guys, the only hope we have of stealing their market share, is by working together.”