It was a drone, a little four-propeller job, and it whirred effortlessly through the piercingly blue Colorado sky with an even-bluer stadium bottle of Bud Light dangling from a tether 6ft below. On the street, a swarthy dude in his late 20s wearing a beach tank and a marching band shako stretched his hand skyward, and somehow -- magic, magnets, good ol' marketing, or maybe a bit of all three -- the drone floated lower until the brew was in his grasp.
That's how I remember it, anyway. I may not be quite accurate. I was at Whatever, USA, and I'd been drinking.
Two weeks ago, I was aimlessly staggering through my inbox when I got an email from my editor. Bud Light had invited Thrillist to tag-along on its weekend-long end-of-summer soiree in the Rockies on September 5th-7th. "Whatever, USA." explained my editor, rueful that he wasn't available to go himself. "They've been running commercials about it all summer." Could I cover the proceedings?
My calendar, packed as it was with Netflix marathons and not-exercising in that park by my apartment in Brooklyn, had a glorious opening on those very days. Personal information was exchanged, travel arrangements were made, and barely 10 days later, as I boarded a charter flight from Denver International Airport, a flight attendant in a royal blue polo shirt pressed a chilly can of Bud Light into my palm. (Disclosure: Bud Light paid for travel, food & drink, and accommodations for me and Jesse, another Thrillist employee.)
Our next stop was Gunnison, Colorado, a one-time mining/railroad junction just down the valley from Crested Butte, the usually sleepy ski town that had agreed to host Bud Light's weekend menagerie. By the time we got there, though, the town would be not so much sleepy anymore.