Donnie Iris puts his name behind his beer, King Cool Light
Ben Roethlisberger has his own barbecue sauce, and Jerome Bettis has the Grille 36 restaurant.
Now, another local icon is endorsing a product.
Get ready to welcome King Cool Light, a beer promoted by King Cool himself, Donnie Iris.
"It's a really good beer," says Iris, the Beaver County singer who is known for the hit singles "Ah, Leah" and "Love Is Like a Rock." "I just hope people will like it."
King Cool Light is the brainchild of Mark Avsec, Iris' longtime keyboardist and an intellectual-property lawyer. Iris, who admits to enjoying an occasional light beer, liked the idea, but with one caveat: This was not going to be a vanity project, or product. Iris insisted that anything he endorsed was going to be of quality.
Enter Gary Medved, a Uniontown native who owns a manufacturing business in Northeast Ohio. Medved, a fan of Iris' music, was reluctant to get involved despite thinking that King Cool Light was a superb marketing idea. It was only after some cajoling by Avsec that he finally relented to immersing himself in the vagaries of brewing beer.
"I have to tell you, it's been one of the most fun and rewarding projects I've worked on," Medved says.
And perhaps one of the most painstaking. Medved hired a brewer and tried numerous recipes in blind taste tests. Iris continually turned down various iterations when they failed to satisfy his criteria, or thirst.
"The thing with most light beers is they all pretty much taste the same," Iris says. "You can't tell the difference between them. I wanted something with flavor, something I didn't have to drink ten beers to enjoy."
The eureka moment came when Iris took home a couple of bottles this summer and opened them after dinner. Almost immediately, he knew it was the right recipe.
"I guess the closest it would be is to a Sam Adams light," Iris says of the taste and color of the beverage. "It's in that kind of ballpark. It's certainly not like Miller Light or a Coors Light. ... It's certainly not like Guinness or anything like that. But it does have flavor and a nice overall taste that I really like. I'm putting my name behind it because I do like it."
Medved sought a brewery in the Pittsburgh area, but none could meet the capacity he wanted. The Lion Brewery of Wilkes Barre, Luzerne County, will handle the brewing of King Cool Light, which has undergone numerous blind taste tests with non-partisan beer lovers.
"It's come in No. 1 or No. 2 every time," Medved says.
The official release for King Cool Light will be Nov. 20 at Diesel, South Side, during a concert by Iris and his band, the Cruisers. Medved says the plan is to start with the Pittsburgh area, and gradually expand distribution throughout Western Pennsylvania. Iris also plans to do some guest-bartender gigs in the area, with a few spots in his native Beaver County.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg pair jailed in convenience store robbery
- Finding perfect pairing for Ehrhoff key for Penguins
- 3-alarm fire burns Hill District row homes
- Ex-Brewers star Hart hopes to prove to Pirates he still can play
- Butler County teen dies in ATV accident
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Pirates notebook: Tabata rediscovering his power
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
- Pirates sickened by pic of ‘Jihadi John’ wearing Bucs ball cap
- Pittsburgh producer revives, re-airs an expanded ‘Motown 25 ’
- Easier home loan rules worry some