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Smith & Forge Cider Tests Drinkers’ Toughness With An Arm Wrestling Machine

The non-beer alcoholic drink market has become an increasingly crowded shelf, with Stella Artois’s Cidre, Boston Beer Company’s Angry Orchard, as well as A-B InBev’s Michelob cider and Johnny Appleseed brands, among others fighting for your beyond-beer thirst.

Into this fray walks MillerCoors’s Smith & Forge brand, going for a distinctly 19th-century vibe that’s all curly mustaches and feats of strength. Its ads feature railroad workers, lumberjacks and blacksmiths, and not an apple tree in sight.

Now the brand, along with PR agency Olson Engage, are taking its tough guy image on the road with a pair of arm wrestling machines. Beat the machine to win a free drink and earn the personal satisfaction of defeating a fake arm in a contest of raw power.

Smith & Forge brand manager Royce Carvalho says the arm wrestling machine came to life when they saw photos of strength games at old carnival midways. “We wanted a way to take consumers back to the time when hard cider was the real beverage of choice for the strongest folks around, while also introducing them to Smith & Forge,” he says. “The machine encourages consumers to step back in time and it rewards their strength with a sample of our cider.”


The machines were built by Zing How Designs and are currently touring the U.S. Right now, one is at Coors Field in Denver to watch the Colorado Rockies start the MLB season, while the other is on its way to Chicago after a visit to Charleston, South Carolina.

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