But like any sport, competitive eating is a business, and when Japan's most decorated athlete refused to sign an exclusive contract, he was banned from competitive eating's marquee annual event, the 4th of July Coney Island hot dog eating contest.
Like a true champion, Kobayashi refuses to be deterred and will compete remotely vs the televised event at a New York City bar.
It's here that Jose Cuervo stepped up to the plate. From a release:
If the six-time champion can eat more hot dogs than the crowned winner at the Coney Island event this Fourth of July, thus making him the “would be” champion for his seventh title, Jose Cuervo has offered him an all expenses paid trip to its historic Tequila distillery, La Rojeña, located in the heart of Mexico’s Tequila region. In addition, Cuervo will immortalize him with a customized bottle of Especial Gold that dons his image on the label.
“Jose Cuervo is a legendary brand so we respect the legendary feats of others,” said Ami-Lynn Bakshi, Vice President Marketing, Jose Cuervo. “Put the red tape aside: if Kobayashi proves he is the world’s best hot dog eater, he deserves to be recognized as such. And who better to celebrate the achievements of the world’s best competitive eater than the world’s best-selling and oldest tequila?”
“While we wish Kobayashi well in his effort, we hope that he shares our commitment to responsible drinking and realizes adult beverages are meant to be enjoyed in moderation, unlike his eating spectacles ,” Bakshi continued. “To that end, win or lose we’ll want to buy him a celebratory shot of Jose Cuervo and we’ll pick up the taxi fare to ensure he gets home safely and responsibly.”