Racing News

Stella Artois Named 'Official Beer Sponsor of Churchill Downs, Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby'

Multi-Year Partnership Includes Presenting Sponsorship of 'Opening Night' and 'Downs After Dark'

| Churchill Downs | 03/05/2012 #

Churchill Downs Racetrack today announced a multi-year partnership, naming the world’s best-selling Belgian beer Stella Artois as “The Official Beer Sponsor of Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.”

While attending this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, fans will be able to experience classic Belgian lager Stella Artois and its iconic Chalice, which will feature the Kentucky Derby 138 logo.

Continuing its affiliation with Churchill Downs, Stella Artois also will serve as the presenting sponsor of “Opening Night” and four “Downs After Dark” nighttime events in 2012.

Night racing on select dates at Churchill Downs – billed as “Downs After Dark” – has been a spectacular success since its debut in 2009. An average of more than 25,000 spectators attended the nighttime springtime events in 2011. Last year, Churchill Downs created a stand-alone “Opening Night” event to kick-start the Spring Meet and Kentucky Derby Week. The prime-time racing program was a rousing success and lured an unprecedented 38,142 fans, which was the largest crowd for a Churchill Downs racing program other than a Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks or Breeders’ Cup.

Stella Artois also will sponsor Churchill Downs’ third annual Taste of Derby – a celebration of cuisine, racing and style on the eve of the Kentucky Oaks (Thursday, May 2). In addition to mingling with horse racing celebrities and savoring exquisite cuisine from nationally-renowned chefs, Taste of Derby attendees can learn about Stella Artois’ historic 9-Step Pouring Ritual and take home a commemorative Chalice featuring the Kentucky Derby logo, as well as enjoy authentic Belgian cuisine.

“Kentucky Derby Week has become broader and bigger over the last couple of years, and the introduction of Stella Artois as the ‘Official Beer Sponsor’ complements the alive and vibrant atmosphere of our premium events,” said Bob Evans, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Anheuser-Busch and excited to explore new ways to build on our relationship moving forward.”

“The Kentucky Derby transcends sporting events, and draws in crowds and interest from across the country.  Attendees come for the live racing, and to socialize in such a special atmosphere – and that’s where Stella Artois comes in,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of import, craft and specialties at Anheuser-Busch. “Just like horse racing, Stella Artois has a rich heritage with long-standing traditions, dating back more than 600 years. From its specially-designed Chalice to the 9-Step Pouring Ritual, it’s about creating a sophisticated beer drinking experience, which is a perfect fit for the Derby’s first-class events.”

Per the new agreement, Stella Artois will have logo rights for advertising and promotions, and co-branded promotional merchandise. Stella Artois also will have tactical exclusive signage placement at various locations throughout the facility.

For racing information, including top contenders, prep races and event history, as well as entertainment and lifestyle sections, fans can visit

For sponsorship information, contact Kristin Warfield, vice president, Partnership Development & Activation, Churchill Downs, 502-636-4437 or

About Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at

About Stella Artois

Stella Artois® is part of a Belgian brewing tradition dating back to 1366. It is the number one Belgian beer in the world and is present in over 80 countries. Stella Artois® is a bottom filtered, blonde pilsner. It is thirst quenching with a malty middle and crisp finish delivering a full flavor and a hint of bitterness. Stella Artois® is best enjoyed served between 3 and 5 degree Celsius and should be served in the unique Stella Artois® Chalice according to the 9-Step Pouring Ritual to guarantee a perfect experience of this gold standard lager.  Visit for more information.

The Stella Artois 9-Step Pouring Ritual: Pouring to Perfection

1. The Purification – Use clean & rinsed branded glass

2. The Sacrifice – Open the tap in one quick action and let the first drops of beer flow away

3. The Liquid Alchemy – Hold the glass just under the tap without touching it at a 45° angle

4. The Head – Lower the glass to allow the natural formation of the foam head

5. The Removal – Close the tap quickly and move the glass away so beer doesn’t drip into the glass

6. The Beheading – While the head foams up and overflows the side of the glass, smooth it gently with a head cutter

7. The Judgment – The right amount of foam is usually about two fingers

8. The Cleansing – Clean the bottom and sides of the glass

9. The Bestowal – Present the beer on a clean beer coaster with the logo facing the consumer

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