Canadian classic rockers Rush have launched a new beer, but they were barred from using the catch phrase they came up with and hoped to print on cans.
Singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, the two surviving members of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame band, got on board with Rush Canadian Golden Ale when Henderson Brewing Company approached them, they told Ultimate Classic Rock. The can features the artwork from the band’s classic 1976 album titled “2112,” along with the tagline “Books are for tourists.”
That’s not the slogan they wanted to use.
“Did you know the phrase ‘Drinking beer is better than being hit in the head with a hammer’ can’t be put on a beer can?” Lee said in the interview. “Me neither. But that’s a no-no. We did ask.”
The marketing plan was a match and the beer is good, Lee said.
“Rush fans like beer,” he said. “Hendersons approached us during the pandemic and said, ‘If you’re interested, then we’ll send 15 beers to you and Alex. You can taste them and give us your notes.’ They came back with this golden ale, and we said, ‘F—, we like it!’”
The band officially retired in 2018 when drummer Neil Peart quit for health reasons. Peart died in 2020.
Lee said he and Lifeson were glad the band, which sold out arenas around the world in the 1970s and 1980s, had a rebirth they refer to as “Rush 2.0” after a five-year hiatus following the death of Peart’s daughter in 1997.
“That first tour back as a band, different world,” Lee said. “We took a different attitude on that tour; we were much more open and appreciative of the opportunity. Five years away from it took a lot of cynicism out of our behavior. When we did our first gig after all those years and were welcomed back so strongly, I think everyone was taken aback: ‘Wow, these people waited for us.’”