In May, amidst the ongoing Bud Light/transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney culture war drama, Troy Aikman wanted to make it clear that his Eight Elite Light Beer company had “no agenda” and would offer “no distractions.”
“Everybody’s talking about beer companies these days, but nobody’s talking about beer,” Aikman said in an ad on his Twitter page. “I started EIGHT with the goal of creating a company dedicated to making really great light beer. No agenda. No distractions. Just great ******* beer.”
While being extremely careful not to mention Anheuser-Busch or Bud Light by name, the ESPN broadcaster would go on to say his beer brand is “certainly not” trying to be political or “part of any debate.”
On Monday, however, Aikman released another video, this time tapping into the notion that many other beer brands that claim to be American are actually not, unlike his company.
AUTHENTICITY MATTERS: This July 4th, join me in celebrating with a true American beer??? pic.twitter.com/OxijfwvEjD
— Troy Aikman (@TroyAikman) June 26, 2023
“At Eight, we believe in truth and authenticity. Our company is proudly based right here in Texas and all of our beer is brewed right here in the good ‘ol USA. So, I’ve gotta call it like it is. There are a lot of beer brands out there that are trying to cash in on this holiday by slapping an American flag on their package. Regardless of whether or not they are truly American.
“So this July 4th, drink American – whether it’s Eight beer or any other American owned beer brand. And on behalf of all of us out here, we appreciate your support. Cheers.”
Aikman remains extremely careful not to mention other beer brands and companies by name, but it doesn’t take too much to suss out that he’s alluding to companies like St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, which is owned by Belgian multinational company Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The NFL analyst, who signed a massive deal to move from Fox to ESPN last year, is very clearly playing the culture war game in promoting his beer brand this way. Semantically, he can claim to be non-political all he wants, but taking veiled shots at Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch over their massively overblown transgender influencer deal and not being American enough certainly sends a pretty clear message.
Aikman’s strategy might not be surprising on its face, but given how high-profile he is as an employee of ESPN, it creates an interesting possibility for conflicts of interest. Aikman calls Monday Night Football for ESPN, a broadcast that is heavily advertised by beer companies like, you guessed it, Anheuser-Busch. It’s unlikely that Aikman’s beer company will itself cause any conflicts, but it could get awkward, especially if he continues to take veiled shots at the same companies that ESPN, who has the rights to the Super Bowl in 2026, is charging millions of dollars for commercials and sponsorships.
As noted in our reporting about Aikman’s rocky relationship with some MNF staffers, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has a reputation for doing what he wants. ESPN seems to have a vested interest to keep him happy, so it’s unlikely anyone is going to tell him to stop what he’s doing on the beer side anytime soon. But it’s certainly a situation to monitor, especially if Aikman sees financial results from the strategy and wades deeper into culture war territory.