Imagine having one of your favorite products named after you. That recently happened to a Valley, Neb., native.
Derek Samson, who says he's an "enormous fan" of North Carolina-based brewery Natty Greene's Brewing Co., now has a namesake beer.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate recently moved from Charlotte, N.C., to Pittsburgh and had to leave his favorite brewery behind.
On Jan. 17, Samson wistfully tweeted to the brewing company, telling it how much he missed its beer.
He followed it up with another tweet that asked the company how he could start a campaign to get a new brew named after him.
I made it clear many times@natty_greenes what a fan I am. How can i start a campaign to get ur next brew named after me? will rally people— Derek Samson (@DSsamson) January 18, 2013
He even offered to dress up for the beer's label.
I'll even dress up as Davey Crockett or someone from Natty's era for the @natty_greenes Samson label.— Derek Samson (@DSsamson) January 18, 2013
Within an hour, Natty Greene's owner Kayne Fisher tweeted back that the brewery would consider the proposal if Samson got a campaign going. Soon, another Twitter user had established a hashtag, #samsonbrew2013, and the tweets in support of Samson began rolling in.
@dssamson Get it started.— NattyGreene'sBrewing (@Natty_Greenes) January 18, 2013
Within a half hour after his suggestion that Samson start a campaign, his phone began lighting up with tweets about Samson Brew, Fisher said. By morning, he said, up to 1,500 people had tweeted about it. Fisher said he knew that he had to get in touch with Samson and make his wish come true.
Fisher and Samson decided that Natty Greene's would brew an American IPA in honor of Samson. The specialty beer premiered this past Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., to a crowd of about 250 people. Samson was there, dressed as Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene, the guy the brewery is named after.
Natty Greene's threw two parties in honor of the brew, one in Greensboro and another on Friday at its Raleigh, N.C., location.
The brewing company made T-shirts sporting Samson's likeness and even customized the tap handle with a stylized portrait of the former Nebraskan. Posters featuring Samson's face and the Samson Brew logo also were plastered all over.
"The strangest thing for me was standing at the bar and hearing somebody order a beer and using my name to order it and not having a clue who I am," Samson said.
Fisher says they went through just under 13 kegs of Samson's specialty brew during the weekend's festivities.
By Wednesday, less than half a keg of Samson Brew was left at the Natty Greene's in Raleigh.
When the kegs run dry, that will be the end of this year's Samson Brew. But Natty Greene's plans to continue dedicating specialty beers to customers in the coming years, continuing with the Samson Brew name. Derek Samson will live on in infamy.
Fisher says a couple hundred customers have already contacted him, asking about getting a brew of their own. Natty Greene's plans to run a contest selecting a new winner in 2014.
"Like I told Derek, at the end of the day, it's beer, man. Let's have some fun," Fisher said.