TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama football fans are celebrating Tennessee hate week. For 60 years, Crimson Tide fans have been lighting up victory cigars every time Bama beats the Volunteers.
Reagan Starner is the owner of R & R Cigars and says hate week is one of the busiest weeks for business. He says so many Bama fans purchase cigars to smoke after the game and hopes Alabama wins again.
“It is coolest man and there’s nothing like Bryant Denny going up in a cloud of smoke as the clock strikes zero, if you’re in the student section, a little before it strikes zero. But it’s a classy and fun tradition,” said Starner.
Other businesses in Tuscaloosa have hate week traditions. Jeff Sirkin is the owner of Gallettes Bar on the strip. During hate week, he pulls all Jack Daniels whiskey off the shelf as his way to hate Tennessee.
“It’s just something we started years ago just to ramp up the rivalry. We take all our Tennessee whiskey, mainly Jack Daniels, off the shelf, we don’t sell any Jack Daniels the week we play Tennessee,” said Sirkin.
Reagan Starner says the tradition of smoking cigars after beating Tennessee dates back 60 years.
“There are a lot of people out there that still think Tennessee is Alabama’s number one rival, I am one of those. The whole reason Bear Bryant was brought to Alabama was to beat Tennessee,” he said.
Starner expects to sell thousands of cigars this week. Alabama plays Tennessee Saturday night at Bryant Denny Stadium.