March Madness and the Underdog Ale

New Castle Underdog AleWith “Selection Sunday” making it official, the annual NCAA March Madness Tournament is underway. If you make a habit of picking underdogs for your bracket, there’s a beer to go with that: Newcastle Brown Ale.

With its “Unofficial Beer of the Underdog” program, Newcastle is encouraging fans to root for those teams way down the seed list and toast them with its Brown Ale. According to Massachusetts’ Beverage Business, “Newcastle Brown Ale is setting the stage for increased sales during the 2014 college basketball tournament season with retail and on-premise programming that celebrates the underdog. Seasonally relevant retail and on-premise POS elements that leverage the brand’s unique personality will engage tournament fans and invite them to go to #UnofficialUnderdog to tweet their thoughts on tournament play and earn the chance to win prizes.”

Newcastle Brown Ale’s Brewer

Although it’s aligning itself with the underdogs, Newcastle Brown Ale may be anything but an underdog. Heineken, the third largest brewing company in the world after AB-InBev and SABMiller, is behind it. BeerAdvocate.com explains that Heineken owns the Newcastle Brown Ale brand and acquired the UK portion of Scottish & Newcastle when Heineken and Carlsberg divided that company.

Newcastle Brown Ale is brewed in Tadcaster by John Smith Brewery; however, other Newcastle beers are brewed at Caledonian Brewery, which Heineken UK uses as its corporate address.

Newcastle Brown Ale and College Basketball

The Unofficial Beer of the Underdog program runs from March 1st through April 30th. Expect to see plenty of POS promotional elements including posters, table tents, bracket posters, etc.

“Newcastle drinkers are big fans of college basketball,” noted Brett Steen, Brand Manager, Newcastle Brown Ale. “In fact, 31% of our drinkers watch championship basketball and 34% of these loyal Newcastle fans watch tournament play at their favorite bar – 11% more than drinkers of other import brands. Our Unofficial Beer of the Underdog program offers retailers and on-premise accounts a timely and fun way to further engage tournament enthusiasts while driving incremental sales and profits of fan favorite Newcastle Brown Ale.” (Quoted in Food & Beverage “Newcastle: The Unofficial Beer of the Underdog.”)

So get ready for March Madness and pick your favorite underdog team. If you haven’t been watching college hoops this season, here’s a tip: You favorite underdog won’t be the Wichita State Shockers. They haven’t lost a game yet this season.