The Demons may have been unable to best the Pies during Monday’s Big Freeze 5 at the MCG but soon Melbourne FC supporters will be able to start cheering their team with a Demon Brew in hand.
The retro-clad stubby is a fundraising effort for the club created in conjunction with Brewmanity. It’s a natural fit too – Brewmanity is the fundraising brewing company headed by the team’s longest-serving captain, David “Neita” Neitz (pictured above left in his early days with the club), who, along with co-owner Jamie Fox (pictured above right with modern day Neita), has raised $250,000 to date for Fight MND, a charity founded by the former’s old footy coach, Neale Daniher.
The partnership arose from discussions about a potential sponsorship opportunity that in turn led to conversations about creating a joint venture with a fundraising element.
"It's a commemorative thing for the fans," Neita says of the beer. "And also a good opportunity to get different styles of beer into different people's hands."
The first Demon Brew is a repackaged version of Brewmanity's Tango & Splash, their core range lager that takes its cues from hazy IPAs and claimed a silver medal at the recent Australian International Beer Awards.
"The plan is to then start introducing different styles of beer [as the Demon Brew] next year and the year after that," he says.
“With my background in AFL I feel like I have a unique opportunity to reach out to more of the traditional beer drinkers and fly the flag for craft beer.
"It's exciting to have these opportunities for small breweries to have access to that sort of mainstream audience. We're not the only ones; there's Colonial with Essendon, Two Birds have been working with Footscray, Young Henrys with rugby.
"It's a great opportunity to get indie beer into the hands of more people and grow the sector, which is fantastic."
Proceeds from sales of Demon Brew go to Melbourne FC, with pre-sales for the beer going live via the club’s website from today (June 12). Fans also have the option to buy a discounted case of Tango & Splash, from which $15 will be donated to Fight MND by Brewmanity.
This year's Beer March saw Neita and Jamie raise another $25,000 for the cause, while their hunt for a venue for Brewmanity continues.
"We almost packed our bags and moved into a venue two weeks ago," Neita says, while revealing their next release for spring will be "a Berliner style sour".
As for the Demon Brew, does the new partnership mean Neita is edging closer to having his beer at the MCG? While he remains Melbourne's most-capped player and their leading goalscorer – and has a bar at the hallowed ground named after him – the tight grip on the G's taps and fridges means Brewmanity has yet to score a guernsey on that front.
"I still think there's a bit of a lockout on that," he says, laughing. "We're still a long way from that!"
To order Demon Brew, head to the Melbourne FC website. Cases cost $99 each, which includes delivery to your door. Sales open to the public from 3pm on June 12, with deliveries starting in August.