Beer Brand Rebuffs Nickelback’s Coin, Goes Viral Two Years Later

SMB turns down music video appearance, hopes fortuitous buzz garners new markets

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A craft beer brand’s blog post—after gathering virtual dust for two years—went viral this week once being unearthed by a Reddit user. Dark Horse Brewery, based in Marshall, Mich., announced on its blog in March of 2010 that it was considering turning down Nickelback’s overture to appear in the hard rock band’s video. The group’s 2008 album release was titled “Dark Horse,” and it embarked on a “Dark Horse Tour” in 2010.

At that time, a Nickelback producer contacted Dark Horse Brewery to see if the brand wanted to appear in a video that would include numerous people partying and holding cans of its beer. But the brewer only sells its products in bottles, and Dark Horse owner Aaron Morse was disconcerted by the music marketing team’s lack of research. Ultimately, his small company rebuffed Nickelback's coin.

“It didn't help that I hate the band,” Morse said. “And craft beer is not about frat parties and seeing how many beers you can pound down your throat. No matter what kind of money they’d throw at me, it wouldn’t have changed my mind.” 

Fast-forward to Tuesday, when a Reddit user with the handle “Talpostal” posted the brand’s two-year-old blog. Within hours, other bloggers picked up on the item with often misleading headlines that suggested the story was new.

During the last 40-some hours, Morse explained, “Our Facebook and Twitter have been blowing up. There’s been a lot of people for our decision to turn Nickelback down and some people against it.”

Dark Horse, which currently distributes beers (such as Double Crooked Tree I.P.A.) in nine states, hopes the fortuitous social media attention leads to breaking into new markets. Right now, Morse said, it’s too early to tell if the buzz means more sales for his brand.

“It’s going to take between two weeks and two months to know if it’s had an impact,” he said. “But two years ago (when the blog post published), we saw nowhere near this kind of reaction.”

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.