Wow! Beer Madness, now in its fourth year here at Philly Loves Beer, never ceases to amaze us. When our esteemed Selection Committee first announced the tournament field, we had 32 breweries, a bunch of (empty) six-packs and a universal rallying cry: Let’s crown the Best Brewery in America!
Today, on National Beer Day, we are pleased to announce the winner is Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. The Delaware-based brewery edged out Victory Brewing by the slimmest of margins, 50.3% to 49.7%. Yes, mere percentage points proved to be the difference in this one. Check out Billy Penn's in-depth coverage by clicking here.
Back on March 13, we ranked the breweries by their years in business, awarding local and national behemoths with those heralded No. 1 seeds: Sierra Nevada, Dock Street, Weyerbacher, Boston Beer Co. But as the rounds progressed, it became very evident that overall brand awareness and longevity in the marketplace were top priorities to the average beer consumer. Sure, we saw quite a bit of outrage over the committee omitting Tired Hands and Russian River on the bracket. And let it be known, we LOVE both of those breweries (truth be told, we filled half our bracket out waiting in line for Trapper Pie).
At the end of the day, we chose to be unbiased and the results reflected that. Dogfish Head (Milton, DE) and Victory (Downingtown, PA) emerged as the finalists, narrowly beating perennial favorites Sierra Nevada and Yards in the Final Four.
Victory co-founder Bill Coveleski personally took to Twitter to mobilize his aggressive #TasteVictory Nation. Meanwhile, Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione ran up the brewery steps in a Rocky-inspired Instagram video that seemed to calmly shout #Namaste. Yes, when two of the biggest rock stars in the craft beer industry show their unwavering support, you know it’s a big friggin’ deal. Hell, even their Saison du BUFF partners at Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA) got in on the fun.
We want to personally extend our gratitude to ALL the breweries that got behind this promotion, especially those that went the extra mile and created videos and shared posts on social media. Remember, this contest wasn’t about the coolest or trendiest brewery out there. As our good friend Danya Henninger at Billy Penn wrote: “It should reflect, for a business, a long history of dedication to quality and caring about customers and respecting the environment and helping make the world a better place.”
For nearly a month, the process played out and the winning brewery is a testament to what everyone loves about craft beer. Thank you and let’s do it again in 2018!