Coors Banquet is partnering with Uproxx to pay tribute to wildland firefighters with a five-part docuseries airing this month called "Warriors of the West."
The original series, which provides an in-depth look at the lives of wildland firefighters and those who support them, is the most ambitious effort yet by Coors Banquet and its Protect Our West program. Now in its sixth year of supporting the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, the brand's total donations will reach $1.5 million this year.
Slated to debut nationally May 21 on Uproxx.com and on all Coors Banquet and Uproxx social channels, the five-part documentary takes viewers behind the fire line and catalogs the lives of smokejumpers, hotshots, aircrews and others as they take on some of the most dangerous conditions in nature to contain and extinguish wildfires.
“This is really our way to try and honor all the work that they put into fighting these fires and protecting the place that we call home,” says Kristina Hannant, marketing manager on Coors Banquet. “We want to make sure more people understand what these firefighters do for us.”
Produced in partnership with Uproxx, the series also aims to cast a spotlight on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a nonprofit that supports injured or fallen wildland firefighters and their families, at a time when wildfires in the American West have increased in frequency and severity. In the last 20 years, 13 states have recorded the worst wildfires in their history, and the threat of widespread wildfires is on the rise.
The nonprofit provides financial and educational support to families, and perhaps most importantly, a community that rallies around those in need of help.
“This is such an important foundation. Its reach really does extend beyond the financial assistance that the foundation provides to the families,” Hannant says. “[The] docuseries shines a light on that human aspect.”
Coors Banquet, which was born in Golden, Colo., in 1873 and is brewed there exclusively to this day, has long embraced its western heritage. The brand adopted the cause of the wildland firefighters in 2014 and embarked on its Protect Our West program the same year.
As part of this year’s Protect Our West campaign, Coors Banquet also is sending 2,500 thank you kits to select firehouses in certain cities that include special T-shirts, a case of Coors Banquet beer, an official coffee table book from the "Warriors of the West" docuseries and a personal note from Pete Coors.
Coors Banquet kicked off the campaign last week with a screening in Boise, Idaho, in concert with National Firefighter’s Day. It followed with another event in Denver this week, and it plans to host a third next week in Sacramento, Calif.
“Coors Banquet was born in the West, and so it’s a natural association for the brand as well as for the company,” Pete Coors says. “For our company to be able to participate and recognize (these firefighters) for what they do is an honor, and it’s not my personal pride, it’s the pride of our company.”
Eric Tilden, who has spent 15 years as a wildland firefighter, currently as an Elko, Nev.-based helicopter crew supervisor for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, says the job is grueling and doesn’t pay well. “But the people that we work with and the work that we do is very rewarding,” he says.
Because wildland firefighters’ work often flies under the radar, he says, “for Coors to step up and support wildland fire is pretty awesome. It’s definitely not something that you see a lot of, (and) I appreciate it.”