Beer lovers rejoiced despite the University of Iowa’s double-digit Big Ten Championship loss to Michigan on Dec. 2, capitalizing on a unique promotion.
X-Golf Cedar Rapids, a high-tech golf simulator, poured 150 free beers Saturday, bolstered by one of the most anemic offenses in school history.
X-Golf (which also has a location in Coralville) pledged to pour free beer until the Hawkeyes scored on Saturday.
Iowa never scored a point, losing 26-0 to the now top-ranked and undefeated Michigan Wolverines in Indianapolis, Indiana, paving the way for more than three hours of free drinks.
The promotion was also in effect until a bay reservation expired or when the game ended.
X-Golf facility’s general manager, Destinee Briner, said the promotion, which has been a weekly occurrence at the Cedar Rapids location throughout the season, brought more attention than expected.
“There is a lot of risk in any reward that you’re seeking,” Briner said. “I believe that this has provided us with — and we are very humble about it — much more than I think that we even know what to do with. More clientele. You know, people from all over the world have called us, from California and Colorado. They know about Cedar Rapids and they’re probably gonna come see us at some point.”
Cedar Rapids golf bar offering free beer until Iowa scores, essentially a free blackout pic.twitter.com/uefGymeckL
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 2, 2023
Hawkeye fandom sparked promotional idea
X-Golf’s Cedar Rapids and Coralville franchises are littered with Hawkeye fans, from ownership to wait staff, Briner said. The shared love encouraged the business to run a unique promotion, which has helped the new business grow its profile.
The Cedar Rapids location sits on the north side of town, about two miles west of Interstate 380. The Coralville location is in the Iowa River Landing.
The beers weren’t free for everyone. Briner said only guests who had reserved a bay for 7 or 7:30 p.m. during the Big Ten Championship were eligible. That meant roughly six people filled each of the facility’s eight bays and she estimated each customer had about 3.5 beers.
X-Golf simulators use advanced technology to create some of the best and true-to-life golf simulation experiences in the world, Briner said. The South Korean technology and dozens of sensors and technical systems compile thousands of calculations every swing, she said.
On Saturday night, locals flocked to the bays to watch the second Michigan-Iowa matchup in the Big Ten Championship in three seasons.
An X-Golf social media post promoting the free beer special hit timelines late last week, Briner said, but it gained more traction than usual as national outlets caught wind. Sports Illustrated and ESPN shared the one-of-a-kind promotion on their social media channels, kick-starting a whirlwind of interest.
It came as little surprise that Iowa struggled to score. Michigan’s defense allowed the fewest points per game in the country, while Iowa ranked near the bottom in nearly every offensive category.
The Hawkeyes never really threatened to end X-Golf’s free beer promotion throughout the 60 minutes of gameplay. They failed to cross Michigan’s 40-yard line more than once, fumbling just outside the red zone on their only trip.
Is a New Year’s Day promotion next?
Briner would not reveal whether X-Golf plans to trot out its free beer until Iowa-scores promotion for Iowa’s appearance in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1. The Hawkeyes will take on Tennessee at noon in Orlando, Florida.
Briner encourages fans to follow the company’s social media for more wacky promotions in Cedar Rapids and Coralville.
“We do something crazy like this all the time,” Briner said. “You’ll be in the know for the next crazy thing that we’re doing.”
Ryan Hansen covers local government and crime for the Press-Citizen. He can be reached email@example.com or on X, formerly known as Twitter, @ryanhansen01.