ATLANTA – In advance of this year’s College Football Playoff, four breweries have joined together to create one of craft beer’s most unique collaborations. The Craft Beer Championship Series is a collaborative way to wager on the outcome of the four-way playoff to determine this year’s college football National Champion.
Since the National Championship game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Jan. 8, Scofflaw Brewing Company of Atlanta decided to create the Craft Beer Championship Series. In advance of the playoff between Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Oklahoma, Scofflaw’s co-founder Matt Shirah has invited three fellow craft breweries to bet on the outcome.
Alabama’s Good People Brewing Company, American Solera of Oklahoma, Birds Fly South Ale Project of South Carolina and Georgia’s Scofflaw will back the teams from their respective home states in the upcoming bowl drama of New Year’s Day and the title game of the College Football Playoff one week later in Atlanta.
The victorious brewery in the Craft Beer Championship Series gets the spoils – the opportunity to serve a commemorative collaboration beer in its tasting room. There will be some pain for the three breweries who end up in the loser’s bracket. Their brewers will have to wear the winning team’s jersey – with photos being posted on Facebook – while collaborating on a commemorative beer at the winning brewery.
There are four powerhouse teams in this year’s playoff and each of the four brewery owners is confident about their respective team winning the National Championship. Not surprisingly, there’s been some trash talk.
In the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, the Oklahoma Sooners will face the Georgia Bulldogs. “We all know the Bulldogs will take a bite out of these guys’ asses,” said Scofflaw’s Shirah. “The only thing good to come out of Oklahoma was T. Boone Pickens and Travis Herman, our brewmaster.”
“I could go on and on about what a poor team Georgia is, really, I could,” replied Chase Healey, founder of American Solera. “I just don’t need to — knowing that Travis Herman is a Sooner fan too! Boomer Sooner.”
In the Sugar Bowl, Alabama’s Crimson Tide plays the Clemson Tigers in a re-match of the same teams from the last two National Championship games. “We love this collaboration and competition idea,” said Michael Sellers, co-founder of Good People Brewing Company. “We were getting bored with just going to the Championship game every year.”
Shawn Johnson, co-founder of Birds Fly South Ale Project, is still savoring last year’s win by Clemson in the title game. “Alabama? What are you? An elephant? The Red Sea?” he said. “Everyone knows Coach Saban has dirt on the NCAA or Alabama wouldn’t be here again.”
“We’ll bet, we’ll talk shit, they’ll talk shit and we’ll see who wins,” concluded Shirah, “and then we’ll brew a great beer.” (For more pre-game smash mouth football, see the respective brewers’ Facebook pages.)
On tapping day for the commemorative beer at the winning brewery’s tasting room, the National Championship team’s flag will be displayed – as well as photos of the guest brewers wearing the winning team’s jersey while brewing. Including suggestions from its followers, the winning brewery will decide on a name for the new beer.
The winning brewer will be in charge of the collaboration and tasked with choosing some ingredients for the collaborative beer from its home state, emphasizing the loyalty of craft brewers to the localities where they brew.
No matter what the outcome in the National Championship and which team lives up to the pre-game trash talk by winning, the collaborative spirit of craft brewing, sometimes known as “co-opetition,” will be a winner.
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