If you’ve ever dismounted after a long day in the saddle and cracked open a cold one, maybe a certain iconic ad campaign came to mind. In the advertising world it’s all about creating a memorable moment to associate with a product and when it comes to beer and horses one brand has turned the combo into event television – Budweiser Clydesdales we’re looking at you.

A bottle and a can of beer.Now there’s a new draft in town: 805 Beer from Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The brand is also seeking must-watch status with its latest campaign released on International Women’s Day featuring a diverse cast of women athletes and creators, which Firestone Walker has dubbed “Authenticos.”

One of the women is American thru-rider Gillian Larson, who became the first solo thru-rider of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as the youngest and only woman, when she completed it in 2014. In case you missed it, the term ‘thru-ride’ evolved from the term “thru-hike” and means to complete a designated trail end-to-end in a single year. The PCT will be familiar to film buffs who watched Reese Witherspoon navigate the dangers of solo hiking in the 2016 film Wild, based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed.

While the 805 spot is a scant 15 seconds, the brand also partnered with Larson to create a short three-minute film, Reaching the Unknown. In the short, Larson reminisces over the bond she’s built with her horses, allowing her to face fear and conquer whatever trail she sets out on, including her multiple adventures traversing thousands of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.

“As the feeling of being free and fully alive comes in many forms, I found mine on a stretch of trail in the backcountry with just me, my horses, and a willingness to venture into the unknown,” said Larson in a press release. “I’m very excited to create this film with Firestone Walker and 805 Beer to share more of my story in such a beautiful way. Growing up in the canyons of California, I have a strong connection to the ethos and mission of the company. I’m thankful for this opportunity to share my passion and spirit of adventure with others.”

A woman in the mountains standing beside a horse.

Gillian Larson. (gillianlarson.net)

The recent Authenticos campaign isn’t the first collab between Firestone and Larson. The brand’s creative team also made a 7-minute film The Thru Rider with Gillian Larson in 2021. In that film she describes how her mother, a dressage rider, taught her never to be afraid, a life philosophy that no doubt inspired Larson on her journey. “I don’t have a big family, my mom is a huge part of my world, and so I think that I really do value these loyal close intimate relationships [with my horses], and they were the ones that filled my cup up and much as I filled theirs,” she says in the film.

Her horses include two Quarter Horses, a Percheron-cross mule, Arabian mare and three Morgan fillies. “I value the bond with my horses,” she says in the 2024 film. “Not just the emotional sense of trust and admiration I have, but also the physical connection of our bodies working together in harmony.”

Larson has also been featured on The Today Show  and in Harper’s Bazaar  where she modeled equestrian apparel. If you’re interested in learning more about long distance riding, Larson offers handbooks and workshops on her website, as well as consultations and trail-planning.

“The beautiful thing about being outside and in the mountains, especially when you’re trying to achieve some sort of big journey, is it strips away all the stuff that you thought you needed that you find out you don’t,” she says in the film. “And at your core, what it is that makes you happy. That makes you exhilarated to get out, and to experience the day to its fullest.”