Pardon me, do you have any Geddy poupon? Toronto’s Henderson Brewing Company and Canadian rock band Rush have partnered with another well-known Toronto business, Kozlik’s Mustard, to create a new Rush-branded mustard made with the brewer’s Rush Golden Ale.
Henderson and Kozlik’s had already been making a beer mustard using the brewer’s Henderson’s Best for several years, but during one of their semi-regular visits to the brewery, Rush’s surviving members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson enquired about the possibility of making a mustard using their new-ish beer.
“The rest is history,” says Henderson GM Steve Himel.
Kozlik’s sent several flavours for Lee and Lifeson to sample. And after what Lifeson describes on the Rush website as “extensive and pretty serious scientific analysis using only the highest quality hot dogs,” the new honey-based flavour was born. “This is perhaps the apex of mustards,” writes Lifeson, the band’s resident jokester. “So good, you could put it on top of another mustard you used by accident.”
Kozlik’s did an initial run of about 2,000 bottles, well below a standard run for any of its approximately 35 flavours. “Under normal circumstances, I don’t know that I’d ever do anything that small… because everything starts to become unaffordable,” said Kozlik’s director of operations, Noah Kessler.
Rush boasts one of the most ardent fanbases in rock, so it’s not surprising that the first run sold out quickly, despite its $9.95 price tag. It’s being sold in the U.S. through the Rush website, and in Canada through Henderson’s and Kozlik’s Canadian retail channels. (Henderson’s online store features a dedicated Rush page where people can buy not only the beer and mustard, but also a $199 decorative keg, a $175 Rush x Henderson tap handle, and a $12 Rush x Henderson beer opener.)
“I think beer mustard is an easily accessible and inexpensive product,” says Himel. “This Rush mustard is done incredibly well, and people are eager to try anything if Rush are involved. I think there’s some interest among our fans to try this product, but it’s the Rush fans who gobble it up.”
The product, which features the Rush name and the band’s Starman logo, is being promoted with a video entitled “Shut the World Up” that is running on both the band’s and Henderson’s YouTube channel. It features Lee and Lifeson casually going back-and-forth about the new mustard (which Lifeson calls a “love mustard”), underscoring the rapport the two have built over six decades of recording and touring.
“Geddy and Alex have those different personalities where one plays the straight guy and one plays the goof, and it just works for them,” said Himel. “There really is no script. It’s like ‘We’re going to try the mustard. Then we’re going to try the beer. Then we’re going to walk about a bit.'”
The video’s natural feel is due in large part to director Allan Weinrib, who is Lee’s brother and also responsible for many of the band’s high-concept tour videos. School Editing’s Mark Morton cut the captured footage down to the final 40-second cut, with the Rush song “New World Man” added in post.
There’s no paid media behind the video, but it’s already totalled more than 188,00 views and nearly 1,000 comments on the Rush YouTube channel. “It’s a very non-traditional approach to communicating this product,” said Himel of the relatively low-budget approach to marketing the mustard.
“These guys have a brand and they’re inhabiting it and demonstrating it, and it happens to include this product. They like working that way, and the truth is we love working this way, because it’s our brand too. I love that we managed to do this. It’s really the right way for this band and this brand to communicate with people.”
The good news for Lee and Lifeson’s bank accounts is that there seems to be no end to the amount of Rush-branded products people are willing to buy. “I swear, i would buy Rush hemorrhoid cream, if these 2 were selling it!!” said one commentator. Your move, Preparation H. May we suggest “Red Sector A” as the name?