With football season just a couple weekends away, Nittany Lion fans are starting to think about filling their coolers to come to Beaver Stadium or stocking the fridge to watch Penn State play from home.
For the second year in a row, they will have the opportunity to pour one out for the late Joe Paterno while they tailgate.
On Thursday, Duquesne Brewing Co. announced the second offering in its Paterno Legacy Series.
“The artwork for the new can design for 2016 was selected with the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first game as head coach at Penn State in mind. The can honors his legacy as a coach and more importantly as an educator,” the company said in a release.
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Paterno served as Penn State’s head coach from 1966, when he took over for Rip Engle, until 2011, when his firing amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal sparked rioting on campus. He died in January 2012. The NCAA took away more than 100 wins from Penn State in its sanctions after Sandusky, but when those penalties were reversed in 2015, Paterno once again became the winningest coach in Division 1 football.
The new can design features a silhouette of Paterno, arm raised, and a prominent “409” for the number of wins he held as head coach, all while at Penn State. In the background are words from Paterno quotes, such as “The will to win is important but the will to prepare is vital.”
Son and former assistant coach Jay Paterno said the hard part was not choosing which quotes to put on the cans, but narrowing them down. Among his favorites was “Tradition is a gift.”
“The word tradition gets thrown around a lot, particularly in sports. It’s bigger than that,” he said. “You have to add to it.”
Duquesne owner Mark Dudash said he was struck by how different Paterno’s quotes were from other sports-related speeches he has heard.
“They are very philosophical. I thought that was kind of cool,” he said.
This year’s cans are different inside as well as out. The contents are not the same beer produced in 2015.
The cans are filled with DuQuesne LT, described by the company as “a 96-calorie award-winning light beer.”
According to the company, the new series sold out to Pennsylvania wholesalers within three days. Another batch is being produced and will be available for a limited time during football season.
The 2015 beer sold more than 60,000 cases. Dudash said it sold particularly well in central Pennsylvania and with “Joe Paterno and Penn State people.”
Jay Paterno said the Latrobe-produced product is great for any game, but there’s one in particular it was just meant to complement.
“This is the perfect beer for tailgating the second Saturday in September,” he said.
That would be the week the Nittany Lions travel to Heinz Field for the first meeting of Pitt and Penn State since 2000.