Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman hardly needed an introduction when he arrived at Brewster Street Icehouse on Wednesday.
More than 200 die-hard Cowboys fans were already in their seats waiting for the NFL Hall of Famer to greet fans, take photos, sign autographs and more importantly, promote his new signature beer EIGHT Elite Lager.
Named after Aikman’s jersey number, the 90-calorie light beer with 2.6 carbohydrates, features organic grains and antioxidant-rich Hallertau Taurus hops.
Aikman said it's the only light beer with no fillers, corn, rice, syrup or extra sugars.
"I've learned nobody works on Wednesday in Corpus Christi," Aikman told the packed restaurant. "This is our third stop and everywhere we've been has been incredible... It means so much to me."
Aikman previously visited Politics Spirits & Games and Murdy's Public before making his way to Brewster Street for his third and final stop of the afternoon.
Corpus Christi resident Julian Ortiz was one of many fans who followed Aikman throughout the day.
"To see him in person is awesome because you watch him on TV and broadcast all the time," said Ortiz, who has been a Cowboys fan since the 1970s. "I actually got to pat him on the back and told him congratulations on his new beer. It was exciting."
"It's an awesome opportunity," added Julian's wife Luanna Ortiz, who teaches middle school at Tuloso-Midway. "I took the day off from school so that I could see him."
Fans from all over the country made their way to Corpus Christi to see Aikman.
Edward Swanson, who is from Kansas City, Missouri, was in Rockport when he found out Aikman was coming to the Coastal Bend.
"We wanted to take an opportunity to see Troy in person and have a chance for a photo op," said Swanson who has been a Cowboys fan since he was a kid. "We've always been a big fans and have wanted to meet him in person."
Miranda Aikman, who changed her last name to Aikman on January 8, 2004, has been a Cowboys fan since she was 10.
Miranda said she given the opportunity to change her last name to any name she wanted after her divorce.
"I changed my last name to Aikman because Troy is my favorite player," Miranda Aikman said. "He always has been."
EIGHT Elite Lager is currently only sold in Texas and can be found at H-E-B, Stripes, sports bars and other stores where alcohol is sold in Corpus Christi.
"I'm from the Midwest so this is a different flavor for us," Swanson said. "I really like it. It's smooth, light and it's something I can see myself having quite a few of."
Aikman, 55, played 12 seasons with the Cowboys and won three Super Bowls for the franchise.
Aikman is set to begin his first season calling Monday Night Football for the 2022-23 NFL season after joining ESPN in March.
Aikman signed a multiyear agreement to join ESPN with former Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Joe Buck.
Aikman previously called NFL games for Fox Sports with Buck for the past 20 NFL seasons.
"It's a better beer for you," Aikman said. "When we started making this, I've always been conscious of my health and going back to my playing days, I wanted a beer that fit and complemented my lifestyle. We made it for the early risers, which is people who wake up every morning with a purpose and a passion to be the best that (they) can be."
Rey Castillo is a sports reporter for the Caller-Times and a graduate of Texas A&M-Kingsville. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @reycastillo361
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Former Cowboys QB Aikman visits Corpus Christi to promote new beverage