Friday, October 8, 2010

Sports: More Than Beer and Nachos

While football season is just heating up, baseball season is coming to an end. What do athletes do in their spare time when sports wind down or when they decide the time has come to retire? Many sports pros have dabbled in the food and beverage consumer packaged goods industry, manufacturing everything from wine to donuts.

Take, for example, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. After hanging up his skates, "The Great One" started his own winery with wife Janet in 2007, No. 99 Estates Winery. A portion of each wine sold benefits the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, dedicated to providing less fortunate youth with the opportunity to experience the sport of hockey. Hear all about Wayne's foray into vino on Wine Library TV.

Many football players have also taken the path into the wine business, including Drew Bledsoe and Mike Ditka, as have NASCAR drivers Mario Andretti and Jeff Gordon.

After Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris left the game, he settled in Pittsburgh where he started Super Bakery in 1990. Harris' goal was to make junk foods more nutritious, and sold his goods, like donuts and pastries, to schools, hospitals, and airlines. In 2006, the football legend most known for "The Immaculate Reception," renamed his company RSuper Foods. Today, Harris' Super Donut and Super Bun products are sold publicly at Giant Eagle grocery stores in Pennsylvania. In the future, Harris hopes to expand the product line to include muffins, wraps, and other bread and pastry products.

Have you noticed other athletes lending their names to a food or beverage line on store shelves? Drop me a line and tell me more!

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