The only winner to emerge from this month's tawdry Karen Sypher-Rick Pitino trial is a retired Louisville homebrewer who made an award-winning beer label based on the well-publicized scandal.
Greg Rosenberger won a blue ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair this week in the humor/satirical division for "Blackmail Ale," which features an unflattering picture of Sypher on its label. Sypher, of course, was convicted earlier this month of extorting Pitino and lying to the FBI about the affair they had seven years earlier at an Italian restaurant in Louisville.
"Every year, the Kentucky State Fair sponsors a homebrew label competition, so I thought this would be a good topic," said Rosenberger, a big Louisville basketball fan. "I had originally thought there would be more than one label that would tackle the same subject, but as it turns out the others focused on political topics or the oil spill in the gulf. I just put it out there and stuck. I never dreamed it would get the publicity it's gotten."
What likely helped make Rosenberger's label a winner were the clever slogans he included.
"Blackmail Ale, 7 Years Old," the label reads. "A bitter brew available only at your local Italian eatery. 0 percent Dignity by Volume." At the bottom, the label warns drinkers that "consuming this beverage may lead to incarceration in the United States federal prison system."
Rosenberger has entered the competition for the past three years, but this is his first blue ribbon-winning label or brew. He has no plans to create a brew to go with his label and attempt to sell it, though he may enter Blackmail Ale in a national contest later this year.
"I've scored well on some of my beers in the past, but I didn't win any awards," Rosenberger said. "Guess my labels are better."