Mudcats don special 'Micro Brews' jerseys
By Samuel Evers
Monday, June 24, 2019
The sports world was officially introduced to the Carolina Micro Brews a few months ago, on Feb. 22, at an event at Oak City Brewery in Knightdale hosted by the Mudcats.
ESPN’s SportsCenter gave the idea large-scale exposure on April 13, with a 45-second Saturday morning clip showing off the special jerseys and hats, which show a resemblance to the Milwaukee Brewers’ jerseys of a few decades ago.
But way back, before the 2018 season had even started, during a brainstorming session for promotional ideas at the Carolina Mudcats’ offices in Zebulon, is when the idea first surfaced.
“It was a team effort,” said Patrick Ennis, the team’s director of promotions and fan experience. “We were just talking around — what if we did this and that? Mini Brewers? Micro Brewers? Micro Brews? That’s it — let’s submit and see what happens.”
And so, after approval from the Milwaukee Brewers and Minor and Major League Baseball, the Micro Brews — the name the Mudcats will sport on their jerseys for four games this season, the first of which was on April 13 — were born. The other Micro Brew games will be May 9, June 6 and August 1.
On April 13, the first 1,200 fans admitted to Five County Stadium received a replica Micro Brews jersey; on May 9, the first 1,200 fans will get a free beer stein with the MB logo on the cup; and on Aug. 1, the first 1,200 will get a Micro Brews bottle opener.
The name, which was introduced to much excitement from the Twitter-verse to the baseball blogosphere to The Sports Network in Canada, is supposed to pay homage to the Mudcats’ major league club and to the rich recent boom in craft beer across North Carolina.
“It’s perfect both ways,” Ennis said. “It gives us a chance to gain traction in Milwaukee and with our fans here.”
So, why did this idea, from inception to execution, take so long?
Simple: Great minor league promotions aren’t built in a day, a month — or even a season.
“Patience was a virtue,” Ennis said. “Instead of rushing something out, we took our time and did it right.”
Once the idea was set and approved, the marketing department put it on the back shelf for the 2018 season, and, once last September rolled around, kicked the planning into overdrive, sending off design ideas, making tweaks, communicating with vendors and tying other loose ends before the reveal in February which, for a satisfying moment, broke Minor League Baseball Twitter.
For a Single-A marketing department, there’s no better accomplishment.
“It was an awesome feeling,” Ennis said. “With all the hard work that everyone on the staff put in, it’s been tremendous to see all the feedback.”