Support Detroit: Have a Beer with Kid Rock

Posted on January 21, 2011


I recently attended Kid Rock’s 40th birthday party. Don’t be too impressed it wasn’t particularly exclusive, it was at Ford Field, where the Lions play, and included another 52,000 of his closest friends.  Whether you are a Kid Rock fan or not you have to admit the man puts on a show. He had a bunch of special guests and mixed his new country-ish sound with his older rap-rock songs surprisingly well.

One of the stand-out moments was when the show stopped down and a member of the Detroit City Council came out and presented him with a Spirit of Detroit Award which is given to, “a person, event or organization being honored for an outstanding achievement or service to the citizens of Detroit.” And he deserves it. No one is as loud and proud about their Detroit-area roots than Kid Rock is.

He’s even become his own one-man economic stimulus plan. In 2009 he launched American Badass Beer which is brewed locally in Webberville, Michigan. He also bought a large share of an apparel company called Made in Detroit that sells swag with Detroit inspired designs. Surprisingly, in the middle of the show he stopped to talk about the two businesses; not to plug his products but to explain his motivation.

Rock explained he’s not out to get rich through beer or t-shirts as he quipped, “this music thing is working out just fine for me.” He says the businesses serve two purposes; to provide jobs for some out of work friends and raise money for Detroit-area charities by donating a large chunk of the proceeds. While it might seem like taking on projects of this size is impossible for someone without Kid Rock’s financial resources the reality is that either of these could easily be replicated, on a smaller scale, without any real financial burden.

The t-shirt business is easy. Challenge your listeners to send in their designs for apparel. Then open a free store on a Web site like Cafe Press, which takes about three hours total, and donate your revenues to charity. If you prefer the food and beverage route team up with a local brewer, coffee shop or bakery to create a locally branded beer, coffee blend, pastry or whatever. Proceeds from sales of the item can go to charity while the local establishment gets publicity and store traffic in return for being involved.

Believe it or not this is only one of several lessons Kid Rock can teach us about career management. We’ll look at more next week.