Blooming in Business

The former Dallas Cowboy quarterback - and triple Super Bowl Champion - is toasting a new career... in beer

Article by Sarah Ivens

Photography by Whit McGuire

Originally published in Austin Lifestyle

You’ve said you’re a better father, friend, and athlete when you are eating and drinking well. What would be an ideal day for you to fuel up. Breakfast, lunch and dinner – and don’t forget treats!

My diet consists of mostly organic fruits and vegetables, along with some protein: grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chicken, usually. I drink a protein smoothie every afternoon, and I do take a few supplements like magnesium, nitric oxide, Omega 3 and Vitamin D to ensure I’m getting all my recommended nutrients. Regarding treats... I’ll be honest, I don’t have a regular or go-to ‘cheat meal’. Occasionally, I’ll grab a slice of pizza, some Texas barbecue but I’m pretty disciplined. Of course, my favorite treat is an ice-cold EIGHT at the end of a hard day.

You describe being ‘healthy’ as a balance between physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. You do you keep yourself in good health – especially during the tough or trying times/ What wellness practices have you incorporated into your daily or weekly life?

To me, being healthy is a balance between physical, mental, and emotional. I believe in physical exercise to reduce stress and support longevity, and I practice good nutrition and clean eating to maintain my lifestyle. I start every day with 20-30 minutes of meditation, and I try to end each day by reading something that inspires me. I also strongly believe that there’s nothing that’s quite as good for your emotional well-being as connecting with friends and family over a beer. Life is about balance, and the sacrifices we make for success shouldn’t compromise our enjoyment of it. That’s why we launched EIGHT.

EIGHT is a beer to feel good about, and one you say people ‘won’t have to make excuses’ to enjoy.’ Explain the work you did over the two years you were researching and creating the beer to make it a guilt-free choice. Why is this beer better than most?

We have a saying at EIGHT: “how we do one thing, is how we do it all.” When we set out to build a beer that measures up to the same standards we hold ourselves to in every other aspect of our lives, we went straight to the best minds in brewing, partnering with the distinguished Food Science and Technology Department and Oregon State University to develop our formula. That process took two years, and lots of trial and error, as we dialed things in. We’re extremely proud of the final result. EIGHT is brewed with organic grains, antioxidant- rich Hallertau Taurus hops, no adjuncts, and no sugars. It tastes amazing, yet clocks in at just 90 calories and 2.6 grams of carbs. That’s what we mean by no shortcuts and no excuses.

You’ve always been a team player. How have you taken the skills you learned from sport, playing 12 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and winning three Super Bowl titles, and taken them into business. What do you look for in team players?

The challenge to make EIGHT successful is not a small one. We’re taking on big beer and some entrenched incumbent brands. Throughout my career, I’ve learned that achieving any significant goal takes support and input from a winning team. Most importantly, your team has to share the same values and work ethic that you do. Certainly, that’s been true in launching EIGHT. Our team is a roster of talent.

What qualities and life lessons are you imparting to your two daughters?

I’ve always been a very active, involved dad. It’s been one of the hardest jobs of my life, but of course it’s also the most rewarding. Over the years, we’ve had countless conversations about life lessons, but two themes always seem to stand out: first, that the key to succeeding at pretty much anything is the willingness to out-work anyone else. That’s been a hallmark of every success I’ve ever had. Second, I’ve always emphasized the importance of selecting and supporting good teammates. No matter how hard you work, when all is said and done, the team around you will probably be the number one factor in your success. So it’s important to invest the time there too, and to celebrate their successes like you celebrate your own.

The company is based here in Austin. What do you love about our city?

Austin just embodies the hard-working, go-get-it, yet down-to-earth lifestyle that’s always inspired me. We built EIGHT for people who roll out of bed every day with a passion and a purpose; who pursue their goals with determination, but who also make time to celebrate. That’s Austin in a nutshell. Our HQ just had to be here.

1% of all revenue from sales goes to Texas-based causes that work tirelessly to make healthy living accessible to all. Tell us a bit about why this was important for you to do, and highlight some of the charities.

At EIGHT, we recognize that not everyone has equal access to the resources that make it easier to pursue a healthy lifestyle. We are blessed to have the opportunities we do, and as a company, we want to do what we can to broaden access to those opportunities to as many people as possible. Our first partner is Common Market, a fantastic organization that connects farmers who are passionate about better food with communities who don’t otherwise have access to it. Through their efforts, they grow both demand and supply of better nutrition. This is a big deal for us, and we look forward to adding other partners over time.



What are your three favorite bars or hotels in Austin to enjoy a nice, cold beer?

1) Lavaca St Bar – when you need a good, busy, downtown fix

2) Oasis on Lake Travis – an inspiring view when you need an escape

3) The hotel bar in whichever of Austin’s many great hotels I’m fortunate enough to stay (as long as they serve EIGHT)

If you could create a perfect night out in Austin, what would it be and where would you go – and with whom?

A run on the trail alongside Lady Bird Lake, dinner with my girls, and an ice-cold EIGHT with a few buddies.

Favorite book?

I have a lot of favorites, but a few years ago, I read The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer, and it had a pretty profound impact on my outlook on life. I also enjoy biographies of great leaders, from both sports and outside athletics.

Last show you binged?

Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time on the couch, but I do spend hours watching film in preparation for each week’s broadcast during the season. Does that count?

Favorite place to travel?

I have a home in Montecito, California so I visit regularly and have always found it restorative.

Go-to meal to cook?

Filet, sweet potatoes & Brussel sprouts.

Favorite snack?

To be honest, I’m not much of a snacker. I try to stay disciplined, and while I know that people like to talk about their weekly ‘cheat meals’, for me, that more of a once-a-month occasion.

Favorite thing to do if you have an hour to yourself?

I like to spend a lot of time reading, usually non-fiction, though not always. I like books that inspire me to think about things differently, or that profile people from whom I know I can learn something new.

Favorite quote?

“Things are never as good as you think they are and never as bad as you think they are” -Terry Donahue

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