2006/01/05

Mario Batali: 2 Brothers

By JULIETTE ROSSANT

2 Brothers + NASCAR + Mario Batali triumvirate

Is this Heaven? Where else can matches like this be made? A three-way team, a three-way formula, for a three-way win. Plus, plus, plus.

The line-up:
  • NASCAR with their nationally televised raceway events (Media and event venues)
  • 2 Brothers Brand (food products)
  • Mario Batali (more Media venue, more food and kitchen products)
You thought Mario was all about authentic Italian?

Mississippi-based 2 Brothers, LLC, is a new company formed by the two cousins, sons of the founders of Bryan Foods "Flavor of the South" brand. That company was sold to Sara Lee years ago, but the two cousins, Wilkes Bryan and Bill Atkins, have resurrected family recipes for barbecue sauce. Their website states:
In honor of John and WB Bryan, founders of the 1936 Bryan Brothers Packing Company, we’ve created recipes that are rich in both taste and tradition. Use our sauce and seasoning to add a distinctly Southern essence to pork, beef, fish, steak, burgers or anything else you cook in the kitchen or on the grill.
2 Brothers barbecue recipes will be part of Mario Batali's Official Cookbook of Nascar (Sporting News 2006). (See previous article.) The cookbook may also include other Nascar licensees like Hellman's, Master Foods, Castellini, and Monogram Foods according to Mike Reilly, President of 2 Brothers.

Mario Batali image hyperlinking to 2 Brothers' photos Nascar selected 2 Brothers as its officially licensed barbecue sauce. What does a Nascar license mean? It doesn't mean that the barbecue sauce is sold at the tracks across the country, which are owned separately. "Our licenses put a Nascar bar on our product, they do some support and help in marketing, selling and positioning of our products." says Reilly.

Why is a Nascar license so desirable? Because unlike other sports, fans of Nascar spend days at a track camping out in anything from a tent to a million dollar motor coach. An average of 150,000 fan show up to races, with some races luring 400,000 or more. The fans are very loyal to Nascar, thus a license is a very desirable addition to a new product in the crowded barbecue sauce market, explains Reilly.

The way Mario got in on the act through his high school buddy, Rich Bodmer. Rich works for publisher Sports News and is a co-founder and principal of Dyno Marketing, a NASCAR marketing specialist. Rich introduced Mario to 2 Brothers.

2 Brothers President Mike Reilly admits he didn't know who Mario was, but he quickly learned after bringing him to a couple of races.

"He resonates with Nascar fans. Mario is a good, approachable guy -- we get that," Reilly told Superchefblog.

Mario Batali Endorsing 2 Brothers at NASCAR event

In fact, Mario, who loves any Media or public attention, got totally revved up when introduced to the multitude of NASCAR fans. Recently, he prepared an old-fashioned BBQ for the drivers and owners at the Nextel Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway (see photo, above).

Reilly admitted to Superchfblog that barbecue was outside of Mario's traditional area:
It is a push for where his brand has been. It is a new direction. -- That is where we are helping him, moving out of the Italian category he has been in to other products.
In fact, Two Brothers is working on new flavors and products with Mario, targeting him for NASCAR fans niche audiences.

"He is targeting huge group in million-dollar coaches [campers]. They do their tailgating in style. That is the crew he is going to connect with," says Reilly.

Will this have any impact on Mario's TV presence? He has three shows with the Food Network: could his new NASCAR platform pull him away from the Food Network -- or could we see Mario on the Food Network in a new show, like Molto Tailgating? Hey, Food Network: we thought of it first!

So, if you want to get a sneak taste on what Mario's cooking with, get yourself some 2 Brothers Original Barbecue sauce (you'll have to talk to 2 Brothers about options on the 2 girls depicted below).

Mario Batali Endorsing 2 Brothers at NASCAR event

Press releases:
2 Brothers: NASCAR 3 [undated]
2 Brothers: NASCAR 2 [undated]
2 Brothers: NASCAR 1 [undated]

Previous articles:
Mario Batali: Tailgates NASCAR Style
Newsweek Cites Juliette Rossant on Mario Batali
Juliette Rossant: Forbes Tastemakers - Mario Batali
Mario Batali: Molto Italiano
Newsweek Bets on Mario Batali's Basting Brush
Anita Lo Defeats Mario Batali on Iron Chef America
Iron Chef Pizza Wars: Batali vs. Puck
Nancy Silverton & Mario Batali's Mozza
Molto Mario Massacres Mahi

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