The NCAA Tourney has descended in North Carolina, yet again! The 2019 bracket finds four different NC teams gracing the brackets—University of North Carolina (1), Duke University (1), Gardner-Webb (16) & NC Central (16) –and we are as excited as ever to cheer our statesmen on as the competition gets underway. One of our co-workers was so excited about it, she wrote a whole blog post about the importance of a well-rounded team when it comes to Carolina craft beer, marketing, and of course–these March Match-Ups!

The other day, as our team was talking about each team’s chances and why we love one team or another, we realized there’s another product of the state that we all like to support, and discuss at length: North Carolina Craft beers and breweries. With our main office in Raleigh, NC there are breweries around every corner that are constantly innovating and producing new styles and flavors of beer. But, we also know and recognize the creativity, success, and innovation that is happening all around our great state, from the mountains to the sea.

So, in the spirit of the Bracket Madness, we decided to take a look at the bigger picture of North Carolina’s craft brewery scene and to create a bracket of our own. We created a list of every brewery in the state we could think of, from the tiniest production to the large-scale monster breweries and without ranking them, organized into our state’s four regions: Asheville & the Foothills, Charlotte Metro, Coastal Carolina, and the Triangle & Triad.

From here, to take out any bias, we turned to Google to understand how many reviews and comments people had left for every brewery. The sixteen breweries with the most reviews (running the gamut—did not have to be 5 stars only!) then became our sixteen teams for the bracket. Then, we created the match-ups exactly the same way that the NCAA does it.

Here’s what that bracket looks like:

Click the image above to download it for FREE, and fill it out with your picks. Show your local breweries some love by sharing it on social and tagging them!

In our office, strategies for making picks are all over the place. Some people are making their picks by choosing their favorites within a certain style of beer (IPAs, Goses, Hefes, etc.), some are closing their eyes and pointing, and still, others are choosing based off how WILD a brewery is with their flavors, styles, and creations.

There is no wrong way to fill this out—after all, no one can tell you your favorite isn’t the right decision. We wanted to use this as an opportunity to have a little fun during the final college basketball showdown and to call attention to our beer-brewing neighbors throughout the state to recognize the hard work and impressive products we appreciate week in and week out.

We’d love to hear from you—did your favorite brewery not make the cut? Did you and your best friend COMPLETELY disagree on who should be in the Final Four? Did you not recognize any of the brewery names & discover a new love? Share your completed bracket with the hashtag #NCBeerBracket on Instagram so we can see what you’ve come up with and hear from you directly!

If that’s too much pressure, we’ve got one other way for you to engage with us in March. Our Instagram account, @wraldigitalsolutions, will be posting daily with one-on-one matchups that you can vote on. At the end of each day, we’ll recap who the winner was from all the votes and at the end of the competition (we’re following the NCAA schedule), we’ll know once and for all who the public thinks is the Champion of the NC Beer Bracket in 2019!

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