Pickleball’s Most Reliable Investor: The Alcohol Industry

Image of alcoholic beverages, pickles, and pickleballs set on a deck or a table

Let’s play a drinking game – or rather, a drink association game. I’ll say a sport, you tell me which kind of booze you associate that sport with:

Football. That’s easy, it’s beer without question. Specifically, “lite” beers.

Racing (cars). Again, easy. That’s light beer as well, or maybe a hard lemonade.

Racing (horses). Probably bourbon, via an iconic Kentucky Derby drink, the Mint Julep.

Tennis. Gin, plus the spirit made from it, Pimms (the Pimm's Cup cocktail is inextricably linked with Wimbledon).

Golf. It’s got to be vodka. The Masters’ official beverage is the Azalea, which features it prominently. Wine would also be an acceptable answer for the country club crowd.

But what about pickleball? Which alcoholic beverage would you associate this sport with?

I’ve personally seen players on a Saturday afternoon (ok, it was a Saturday morning) bring thermoses of pre-batched mimosas, margaritas, and even schnapps to refresh themselves with after their games; though I’d suggest hydrating with some water first in that situation.

Whatever your drink of choice, pickleball fans have no shortage of alcohol and adult beverage companies vying for their dollars.

Alcohol Brands Targeting the Pickleball Space

In recent years, we’ve seen Vizzy, producer of hard seltzers, sponsor PPA Tour tournaments. They’re joined by Deep Eddy vodka, FitVine low sugar wine, & Miller Lite (Molson Coors) as official sponsors of the tour.

Meanwhile, The Botanist Gin and Blue Note Bourbon have established themselves as the official gin and bourbon of Major League Pickleball. Anheuser-Busch even bought into partial ownership of one of their teams.

New Belgium, brewers of Fat Tire Beer, is a recurring sponsor of the Association of Pickleball Players. 

Even Margaritaville resorts and restaurants, though not exactly a bottle producer but certainly a platform for consumption, has deeply embedded itself into pickleball through USAP’s Nationals and many other sponsorships.

But one of the most entertaining ways we’ve seen a booze brand target pickleballers has to be Pantalones Organic Tequila, co-owned by actor Matthew McConaughey and his wife, model & designer Camila Alves.

In a recent ad, the Pantalones pair introduce the idea of “Apres Pickleball” with a pickleball-themed cocktail:

Even the strictest teetotaler must admit that drinking culture and pickleball culture do share some similarities:

  • A sense of playfulness and a laid-back attitude
  • A unification effect – pickleball is played around the world, and every culture from East to West has their own fermented beverage
  • A cure for boredom, given pickleball’s invention came from finding ways to spend a summer afternoon, which is how many barroom stories begin

Of course, there’s also the notion that both pickleball and (responsible) drinking are both meant to be about simple enjoyment.

“We’re precious about our tequila, not our pants,” Matthew and Camila said in a statement about their brand. 

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“With the explosion in popularity of tequila, there’s a level of snootiness that’s crept into the category. People now talk about tequila the way they talk about wine. While we’re all for being passionate about tequila, we wanted to remind people that, above all, it’s meant to be fun.”

What do your "apres-pickleball" activities look like? Let us know here.

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