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Monty Python and the Holy Grail of Profits

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Philip Baker-Coe is on a quest for marketing's holy grail.

"There are literally thousands of competitors," the 21-year old marketing associate told me. "Anybody can start a brand in their basement, slap a label on it and be in business. I need something that will stand out."

Baker-Coe is not your average starry-eyed, 20-something digital entrepreneur seeking fame and fortune in apps or the Web. This Babson College undergrad is in the specialty craft beer business. He lives the young man's dream of organizing drinking events, driving new drinking business and otherwise making rain -- alcoholic or not -- for his boss, Dominique Levesque, at Eurobrew, the Ashland, Mass., beer and beverage importer.

And what does Baker-Coe consider his "holy hand grenade" for sealing the beer deal?

"There is a lot of overlap between Monty Python," he says, "and beer lovers."

Whoa, there! In this cluttered digital age it turns out that the holy grail for moving ale is the 1975 flick Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Who knew, but mega-brands such as Budweiser (BUD), Coors (TAP), Miller (SAB), Sam Adams (SAM) or Corona essentially smell like elderberries to Baker-Coe. His go-to, rock solid Black Knight slayer is a modest brew from The Black Sheep Brewery of Masham, England, called "Monty Python Holy Grail Ale."

"It is definitely something that people gravitate to when I do tastings or an event," he says. "It is one of our best sellers."

The killer marketing rabbit
At first digital blush, the Holy Grail Ale as killer rabbit of the craft beer world makes sense. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the rare media bird indeed -- it's both an old-media and new-media hit. Back in the late '70s, the original release grossed a modest $5 million worldwide, but cost only $400,000 to make, according to The-numbers.com. Not bad at all.

And the spin-offs have been pure Camelot. The musical version, called Monty Python's Spamalot, hauled in $175 million, according to Playbill. Then in 2009, the Web went agog when the comedy troupe trumped content thieves and offered a full archive of Monty Python content on a YouTube channel, which fetched 186,000 subscribers and 60 million some-odd views. There is even a slick iPad app, Monty Python: Holy Book of Days. All of which drove a supposed massive spike in DVD sales. A Sir Lancelot-like 23,000% jump was reported by Mashable, BoingBoing, Techdirt and many, many others.

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