Final Four Results
The second final four match-up featured two powerhouse brewers from the East coast. Victory Brewing out of Pennsylvania boasts a diverse lineup of beers including their Dirtwolf DIPA and the Old Horizontal Barleywine. Facing Victory is industry stalwart and innovator Dogfish Head out of Delaware. Dogfish Head boasts iconic beers such as it's 60,90 and 120 minute IPA's as well as unique styles like the Midas Touch. Victory was not able to top Dogfish head with its unique and broad lineup of beers. Dogfish Head won handily capturing 71% of the votes.
Championship Round and Third Place Matchup
After the two winners of our Final Four won so convincingly, it set up an interesting match-up between Dogfish Head and Founders in this battle for craft beer superiority. Both brewers are relative graybeards in a fast growing industry but have managed to stay current with trends and create variation on their classic styles. Also interesting was that neither Founders or Dogfish Head hail from the famed New England or West Coast hotbeds of trendy brewers.
The two losers in the Final four would also be pitted against each other to see who would take the third place trophy in the runner up contest. Victory and Lagunitas both enjoy strong national distribution and financial backing. Lagunitas is partially owned by Heineken
In the first contest, Founders barely edged out Dogfish Head in a nail biter capturing 51.9% of the vote in what was a 50-50 contest through most of the voting. The third place winner was awarded to Lagunitas with another close victory capturing nearly 58% of the votes over Victory Brewing. Congratulations to Founders in being crowned champion of the Beer Up Bracket.
Post Tournament Observations and Commentary
- People love a contest- Maybe it was just the March Madness spirit, but votes increased round by round and readers were more than happy to tip a glass in support of their favorite brewer with hashtag voting.
- Voters tend to favor bigger brewers- All the one seeds except for Boston Beer co. advanced in the first round and the final eight consisted of three number 2 seeds and a number 1 seed. Southern Tier was the lowest seed to make the final eight, and given the success of Victory, should be a powerhouse next year.
- However, voters don't want their brewers too big- Founders and Dogfish head were the final match-up and both number 4 seeds. None of the number one seeds ended up in the Final Four meaning nationwide brands and craft beer stalwarts like New Belgium, Boston Beer, and Sierra Nevada are not as popular despite their ubiquity.
- For a hot industry, the top brewers are relatively stable- Despite not having the 2015 ratings at the time of seeding, the 2014 top 32 remains virtually unchanged in the newest list by the Brewers Association. Even in a trendy and changing industry, there is security in being big.
To view the full seedings and results bracket