John Smith’s reins in Grand National tie-up
John Smith’s ale is ending its nine-year sponsorship of the Grand National after next year’s race.
Brand owner Heineken said the move was the result of “changes in the ale market and the development of the John Smith’s brand”.
It said it was in talks with Aintree racecourse to explore ways the brand could be involved in the Grand National meeting after 2013, without taking headline sponsorship of the big race.
The sponsorship has been one of the most high profile sports packages for any drinks brand over the past decade, and has seen the introduction of charity races for members of the public and former Grand National jockeys and a “people’s racehorse” called Smithy.
“The decision to end the title sponsorship was difficult to make,” said brand manager Karen Crowley. “We’ve enjoyed fantastic opportunities to deliver our No Nonsense brand experience to Aintree race-goers and John Smith’s drinkers across the UK. However, we felt now was the right time to move on.”