Robert Beric on the Malort Experience and the Reaction (Exclusive)

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It’s very safe to say that the manner in which Chicago Fire FC announced the acquisition of Slovenian striker Robert Beric from French Ligue 1 club AS Saint-Etienne has been a much bigger story than the signing itself.

The announcement consisted of a video of Beric walking out of a snow storm and into the bar of the Blackstone hotel and then doing a “Chicago handshake,” an experience that includes a shot of Jeppsen’s Malort. The idea was the brain child of Tyler Emerick, Chicago Fire FC Director of Content. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch the clip below:

We had an exclusive with Beric yesterday, at 2020 Chicago Fire Media Day, and we talked some Malort. We were far from the only media member to discuss this topic with Beric.

“I’m a little bit sick about that, I don’t really want to comment on it, but I know it’s the really famous thing in Chicago,” Beric said.

“It’s interesting, I could say this, I could say this, but it’s funny because everybody is asking about it, but I want to be a little bit secret.”

Malort is known mostly for two things: tasting extremely bitter, and being as Chicago as it gets. Beric says he doesn’t really drink too much, so don’t expect him to be doing an “influencer” style posts on social media for any spirits any time soon.

“I’m not the right person to judge the alcohol,” the 28-year-old added. “This is one reason why I didn’t want to speak about it.”

As for how the Malort, a 70 proof wormwood based alcohol brought to Chicago by a Swedish immigrant in the 1920s,  went down, Beric said everything by saying nothing.

“How did it look like? I leave this to you.”

To quote TLC, “the body never lies.”

Hey, this is the kind of things that Media Days are for.

Beric, 28, the first designated player signing for the Fire in 2020, with the other two spots still remaining open as all three DPs from last season are gone. He comes from one of the big five leagues in Europe, but he has scored only once in 777 minutes of action this season.

Perhaps a change of scenery will reverse his fortunes as he does have a solid resume. He’s scored 122 goals in his career, including 12 goals in the UEFA Europa League, four in the UEFA Champions League and 34 during his four and a half years with Saint Etienne.

He’s also spent time with Maribor, Rapid Vienna, Anderlecht, Sturm Graz, Interblok, and Krsko prior to that.

“Robert is a goal scorer, he’s very clean and very good in and around the box,” new Chicago Fire head coach Raphael Wicky said.

“He’s a typical No. 9 who can hold the ball. He has a good athletic profile and he’s a hard worker for the team. So these are the things I expect from him.”

Playing in the French top flight allowed Beric to go up against the world’s two most expensive players of all-time, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, both of Paris Saint-Germain.

“These guys are from the other planet I could say, really good individual players, and it’s difficult to play against them,” he said of PSG’s other-worldly and high-priced talents. Many pundits believe that Mbappe could someday fill the void once Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, considered the top two currently active footballers, retire.

“He has all the potential to one day be the best player in the world, for sure,” Beric said.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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