Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Troy Aikman tackles beer industry with launch of his own light lager; company based in Austin

Earl Hopkins
Austin 360
Football hall-of-famer Troy Aikman is launching a light lager called Eight.

Troy Aikman has already found fame and acclaim on the football field and in the broadcasting booth. Now, he's getting into a different game: the launch of a low-calorie lager.

According to a news release, the lager, named after Aikman's football number, aims to be a healthy alternative to other big beer brands, and is made with organic grains, antioxidant-rich Hallertau Taurus hops and no fillers.

“Eight is for the drinker who consistently puts in the hard work. These folks, myself included, are conscious of what we put in our bodies, and options for a light, refreshing beer that’s brewed with organic ingredients are virtually non-existent,” Aikman, 55, said in the release. “Taking the time to reflect and celebrate is critical when you're constantly pushing yourself in pursuit of your goals. I hope Eight helps people connect with others after a day of doing things right.”

More: Mean Eyed Cat owners buy cocktail bar Midnight Cowboy from Alamo Drafthouse founders

Based in Austin, Eight is launching after two years of development, which included research from the food science and technology department at Oregon State University before working with brewmaster Phil Leinart to create the beer.

"The formulation of Eight required a lot of time, trial and error, and hard work, but we are tremendously proud of the end result,” said Tom Shellhammer, who helped lead resource and development efforts at Oregon State.

Co-founder Ruchi Desai said Aikman, whose career in the beer industry started at a Miller distributor in Oklahoma in college, said the Fox NFL analyst has worked to make sure Eight's products fit the brand's mission. 

More: One of Austin's best burger joints is opening a second location

"He's involved in all the details of the company," she said. "He's excited and putting everything he has behind this as well. It's great to have that and we think it's going to be a great year for us."

While the company is headquartered in the Texas capital city, Eight products will be brewed in New Orleans under the Faubourg Brewing Co., the oldest operating brewery in the Big Easy, according to the company's website

Given the brand's target audience – beer enthusiasts with a focus on health and wellness, described as "early risers" – Co-Founder Doug Campbell said the choice to base the company in Austin was an "obvious fit."

Exclusive: Sushi|Bar founders opening Pasta|Bar downtown, sushi restaurant in Hill Country

"It just felt like we were among our people, and after we spent some time here, we knew the brand had to be centered here," said Campbell, who previously served as president of Brewery Ommegang. "We'll be statewide, but I think the heart of the brand is in Austin."

Eight will be available first on draft in bars and restaurants in Aikman’s home state of Texas in February. In March, Eight will arrive in retail locations across the state in 6-packs, 12-packs and 19.2 oz single-serve cans.

For more information, visit www.eightbeer.com.