By: Tara Nurin
For what appears to be the first time, a brewery has teamed up with a professional esports entity to produce a beer designed to appeal to fans of both. (For those unfamiliar with esports, it’s basically the game of playing online video games or watching other people play online video games. Click here for a primer.) Levante Brewing, in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester, has released a hazy IPA called “AFK” in conjunction with a global company called Team Secret that owns pro-esports teams and provides advertising opportunities, product sponsorship and player development almost as sophisticated as any major-league sport. (Think psychologists and nutritionists in addition to coaches and management for often young players who might spend up to eight hours a day competing in a city, state or country far from home.)
The beer debuted at the major International Dota 2 (gaming) Championships in Shanghai this past August and can now be bought in a limited number of places in China, Japan, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland and direct delivered to 24 other states. In gamer-speak, AFK means “away from keyboard,” a message to let fellow online players know one is taking a break from the screen.