Pay ‘Gloria’: Blues, victory song help St. Louis businesses cash in

If you’ve listened to Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” in the last few days, you’re not alone. Far from it. The song saw a 1555% spike in Spotify streams in Missouri over the last three months.

The 1980s pop hit became the St. Louis Blues’ postgame victory song back in January, and fans embraced the anthem as the team turned its season around. Soon, savvy marketers took notice. While “Gloria” provided the soundtrack for the first Stanley Cup in Blues history, the song — and the team that embraced it — helped local businesses sell everything from albums to burgers to beer.

Dan Spethnan of the Record Exchange in St. Louis has seen the album fly off the shelves. He said the store has been sold out of vinyls and CDs featuring “Gloria” for the last month.

Spethnan said customers have inquired daily in the last month about various Blues-related albums. The Record Exchange sold out of its copies of “St. Louis Blues – 1980-81 A Season of Records,” a vinyl album consisting of game commentary from a season in which the Blues made it to the Stanley Cup quarterfinals.

“Everyone is wearing a Blues shirt in here today,” Spethanan said via phone on Thursday, the day after the Blues secured the Stanley Cup for the first time in team history. “There’s a guy standing at the counter wearing a shirt that says ‘Gloria’ over and over.”

“Gloria”-themed attire can be found on apparel for sale at the NHL shop, Etsy, eBay and elsewhere. Arch Apparel in Brentwood released three new shirts for the playoffs; “Play Gloria” adorns one of those shirts and is also available on hats.

Center Ice Brewery in St. Louis took its celebration of the song to the next level, adding a “Play Gloria” Hazy Pale Ale to its beer menu. The bar and brewery, opened in 2017, is St. Louis’ only hockey-themed brewery. It features beers with hockey-inspired names and reclaimed wood from the Blues’ old home, St. Louis Arena.

Center Ice Brewery released a new beer named for the Blues’ victory song. | Via Center Ice Brewery/Facebook

After the 2017-2018 season, when the Blues missed the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade, Center Ice owner Steve Albers said business was slow to a point of being “scary.” The Blues’ 2019 success came right on time for Center Ice, and the brewery’s revenue has increased by 250% in the last year.

“This accelerated our business immensely,” Albers said. “Hockey is on everyone’s mind number one, (and) we are the only hockey brewery in town, so it’s helping from a marketing standpoint. The value, I couldn’t even put a number on it. It’s intangible. It’s that powerful.”

Albers said Center Ice stayed open two hours later than usual on Wednesday and broke out all the champagne bottles it had, describing the night as a “big locker room celebration.” Center Ice was closed Thursday as workers cleaned champagne from the ceiling and celebrated the win.

“To see how many St. Louis fans tear up, well up from this run … it’s unbelievable,” Albers said.

Blues fans looking for a burger to follow their Play Gloria beer were in luck thanks Bailey’s Range. The downtown St. Louis restaurant added a “Gloria” burger to its menu in May.

Manager Tiffany Peasal said sales at the restaurant increased on game nights and days after games during the Blues’ playoff run. The restaurant had to increase staff by six employees for each game, which it plans to do again on Saturday with the Blues’ victory parade downtown.

“We’re super excited the Blues won the cup and everyone is willing to be a team player because of that,” Peasal said. “Whenever something big is happening downtown like the parade, we are just excited to be a part of it.”

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