Joe Montana, Guinness and Notre Dame celebrate the traditions that connect them.
When people talk of a trinity, many thoughts come to mind. In some ways, Joe Montana, Guinness and Notre Dame have formed a trinity that reaches beyond the school’s alumni that have walked those hallowed halls. While many people have cheered for the underdog and rejoiced the scores in front of Touchdown Jesus, this partnership is more than those big moments. Sometimes, the appreciation that comes from waiting for that special moment makes the enjoyment even better.
Earlier this year, Guinness announced that it has become the official beer of Notre Dame and its alumni. While this partnership seemed like an obvious pairing, it is more than just two Irish icons joining forces.
Between Guinness and Notre Dame, there are over 400 years of experience. From crafting that iconic beer with the perfect pour to the celebrated graduates who have influenced the world, these two entities are more than a golden helmet and a harp on a label. People have come to have expectations when they see those symbols.
As part of this partnership, Guinness elicited the legendary Joe Montana as its spokesperson. In this commercial, Montana and Guinness show that the wait is always worth it.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Joe Montana about this collaboration with Guinness, his connection to Notre Dame and how that perfect pour made him a fan for life.
While both Guinness and Notre Dame has long, storied traditions, Montana said that he believes that “the partnership was way overdue.” He believes that the two are a “natural pairing” that he is “happy to be part of it.”
For Montana, he was introduced to Guinness on a trip to Ireland and that is where he “fell in love with the beer.” He mentioned that he went to the pub to get a pint, but what surprised him at first was that he had to “wait” for the beer. That concept of “wait for it” has translated to the first commercial.
While many Guinness drinkers appreciate that “wait for it” concept, Montana mentioned that “that it never really happened in the States.” Still, he realized that the perfect pour “was well worth waiting for.”
Montana said, “once you experience it, you appreciate it.”
In some ways, that willing to wait and appreciate that special moment plays well into this partnership. The concept of the underdog or the underappreciated adjective has been applied to Guinness and Notre Dame. Montana said that once people experience the beer and become part of the Notre Dame community, that sense of appreciate grows. As he said, “once you experience it, you appreciate it.”
Whether you have stepped onto the Notre Dame campus or view it from afar, people understand that tradition and values are interwoven in every aspect. The same can be said for Guinness. The sense of history and tradition is at the core and what makes it special.
For Montana, his experience is twofold. As a player, he mentioned the traditions of staying at the seminary before a game, watching films in the movie theater, and the walks back and forth to the stadium. Now, as an alumnus and a parent of students, he gets chills when he sees the band come out of the tunnel and take the field.
Montana mentioned that when his daughter was looking at schools, he encouraged his family to visit. He said that there is just something “different” about the campus. While his wife at first needed a little nudge, she later understood that connection that the campus has to its student body and alumni.
Montana recalls his wife saying about Notre Dame, “it is like someone has their arms around the campus.”
That connection to the community doesn’t leave when people drive away from South Bend. As one of the strongest alumni programs, and even the subway alumni support, that bond to the school, history and tradition only continues to grow. In some ways, it is the experience that has to happen to be understood.
That sentiment having to discover that unexpected moment is something that even relates to Guinness. While people might have perceptions that the dark colored beer is heavy, the flavor is quite different. As Montana said, the beer is “really creamy and light.”
Still, once people take that first sip, Montana said, it is an experience “that they will never forget.”
Since this partnership brings together football and beer icons, it was necessary to ask what Montana enjoys with his Guinness. He said that he enjoys all types of food with his beer. While he does love some classic snacks like chips, pretzels and other snack foods at a tailgate, he does believe that a perfectly poured Guinness can go with anything.
In the end, Montana ended on a very poignant phrase. “Don’t always believe what you see. Believe in what you taste and what you feel.” Whether it is that perfectly poured Guinness, that connection to Notre Dame campus culture or an appreciation history, take that moment to wait for it and savor the tradition.
When was the last time you poured open a Guinness? Will you enjoy one while watching Notre Dame football?