Country star Luke Bryan has thrown his baseball cap into the celebrity spirits ring with the release of his new beer, Two Lane American Golden Lager. Bryan already has a bit of a culinary resume with involvement in two Nashville restaurants, Luke’s 32 Bridge on Lower Broad and the classy Hillsboro Village spot E3 Chophouse which we profiled in a recent story here at Sounds Like Nashville.
Two Lane is a collaboration with major beverage company Constellation Brands, producer of some other beers you might have heard of such as Corona and Modelo. Luke met the folks from Constellation during several performances at CMAC, a Constellation-sponsored music venue near the company’s headquarters in Upstate New York. At a recent launch event for the brand, Bryan recalled, “We started talking about doing something together, and I said, ‘I really love beer!’ And they said, ‘We can tell!’ This was about five years ago. Probably 2 ½ years ago we decided it was going to be a beer, and then we were trying to figure out how to go about it. I could not be prouder of working with Constellation because they get stuff done like I’ve never seen a company get stuff done. The turnaround is amazing, and it’s really fun. They hear what I’ve got to say, and I hear what they’ve got to say.”
Luke knew that he wanted his beer to be fun. “A big reason why I’m here in this career is having fun and creating environments where people can come out and drink some beer and have fun! The best part is that my mother has already signed off on liking it. She’s the most prolific beer drinker I’ve ever met. We tallied it up. She’s had 87,000 beers in her life! That was a rough estimate, but probably pretty damn close,” he joked. “Sorry, Mama, but it’s true! I guess that’s what happens when you raise me. You have to drink a couple beers at night.”
While Luke admitted that he has also drunk his share of cheap beer, that doesn’t mean he’s not a bit of a connoisseur who knows what he likes. “In our early years when we were an opening act, our set would be 20 minutes so we’d play at 6:30, and we’re done by 7:00. We would go to local microbreweries, and we had notes we would take on the beers. We got into it like crazy! We’d get the beer flights. We were just drinking a lot of beer.”
An important factor to Bryan was that he wanted it to be a lighter, easy-to-drink beer. “I wanted it to be a low-calorie beer,” he explained. “I’m not shedding weight quite like I used to. We knew we wanted it to be under a hundred calories, and we landed at 99. We really worked on the integrity of the flavors. We’d have the Constellation people come on to the tour bus, and we’d have 7-8 samples to try. I think it’s just a good, drinkable beer that tells them ‘sit on the beach and drink some beers’ and ‘watch football at the house and drink some beers.’ It’s got a clean, clean feeling, and it’s passed the mother test. I took it down to Thanksgiving to all the Georgia boys I grew up drinking beer with, and they were fired up about it!”
Luke worked closely with Constellation in almost every aspect of the creation of Two Lane American Golden Lager, including the name, which he said is evocative of the rural life he loves and the fact that two lane highways always bring you home. He also contributed to the design of the label, pointing out a couple of crucial errors in an early mock-up of the can. He recalled, “I told them the mountains on the can weren’t ‘Blue Ridge’ enough. And one field didn’t look like a field that I believed was a field. One other big critical thing I noticed on the can was that there were birds flying over the field, and they were seagulls. And I said, ‘Those need to be ducks!’ So there were three ducks; maybe we’ll name them some day. When I saw those seagulls, I said, ‘No, ducks!’ and the next day they were ducks.”
Bryan took the entire development process quite seriously: “I grew up in a working-class family. I knew it was going to be an undertaking, but beer’s an important thing. You remember your first beer with your dad. You remember a beer at your wedding. You remember things like that. We’re going to have fun with stuff like that.”
What they finally settled on is a beer that walks the line between typical light lagers and craft beer. It exhibits a surprising complexity of golden malt characteristics with just a hint of hoppiness, but it comes in at a crushable alcohol-by-volume level of 4.2%. The official launch date of Two Lane Golden American Lager is March 2, with the initial roll-out taking place in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and the Carolinas. Luke’s signature is on every can, and he hopes you’ll see it in beer stores and bars across the country soon. It is available in kegs, 12-oz. six packs and 12 packs and a 16 oz. can that is the perfect size for music and sports venues.
For more information, visit DrinkTwoLane.com, or take the road less traveled and follow @TwoLaneBrewing on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Two Lane will join Bryan on his 2020 Proud To Be Right Here Tour, which kicks off on May 28. To learn more about tour dates and to purchase tickets, visit LukeBryan.com/tour.