There are good ideas, and there are great ideas. The Free Beer Movement is one of the latter, elegant in its simplicity, and effective in its application. KCKRS sat down with the curator of the Free Beer Movement, Austin, Texas soccer junkie Dan Wiersema, to find out more.
KCKRS: I’m sure many of our readers are familiar with what you do, but for those who aren’t, what is the Free Beer Movement?
FBM: The FBM is a grassroots organization that is working towards “Building American Soccer One Beer at a Time.” Essentially, what that means is that soccer fans in America take it upon them themselves to treat soccer newbies to a couple of cold beers and use that opportunity to educate them about the sport. We like to think that this unique approach is a fun and easy way to break the ice with these newbies and open their minds about soccer.
KCKRS: How did the FBM start?
FBM: I’ve played soccer since I was in middle school, but didn’t become a serious fan of the sport until much later. I started reading soccer sites on the Internet in college and came across this writer who jokingly asked, “What will it take to get people to like soccer? Free beer?” The idea always stuck with me and when I moved back to the United States from living in Honduras (and experiencing the passion of a futbol nation) I came back asking myself, “What can I do to help grow this sport?” Thus the idea of free beer and the Free Beer Movement came alive in the summer of 2009.
KCKRS: Do you have any favorite success stories from people who haven taken part in the FBM?
FBM: Yeah I get emails at tweets all the time from people who tell me about their success stories. There’s no real one that stands out in particular, just the fact that the FBM-idea has really taken off. That nearly every weekend someone, somewhere is using the power of the free beer to spread the message of American soccer or soccer in America. It’s the whole body of work, that people are buying into the idea, that really inspires me and makes me feel like we’ve really got something here.
KCKRS: How many people have you personally Free Beer Movement-ed?
FBM: Oh man. I’d have to say that I’ve probably bought at least 100 beers over the last two years. And for me that’s money well spent. Whether or not they become soccer fans is always up for grabs, but the fact is that I believe strongly in the idea, and more often than not I’ve created new fans. My wife for example.
KCKRS: In your opinion, what’s the best beer to tailgate with?
FBM: I love beer and I love trying all sorts of different beers. At home and at the bars I’m always looking for beers I’ve never had before, but when I’m tailgating I’m usually in it for the long haul and I’ve got to pace myself and be careful. That being said… it is usually something light. I often go with the choice of the American Outlaws, Pabst Blue Ribbon. I definitely like good beer, but I’ll never turn down something from Milwaukee (my hometown).
KCKRS: Final question: If you could have a beer with anyone involved in American soccer, who would it be?
FBM: Well I’ve already drank with some pretty cool American soccer people. Alexi Lalas loves the FBM and I’ve shared beers with him, but really I think it would be cool to be able to walk into the USMNT locker room after a big win with a case of beer under each arm and crack them open with the squad. I think it would be hilarious to not only drink with the Nats, but watch Bob Bradley drink a beer.