Basketball, brackets and beer

March Madness is as synonymous with basketball as Cherokee Distributing Company is with beer. The next three weeks are wall-to-wall basketball, culminating in the Final Four with NCAA champions crowned in Dallas on April 7 for the men and in Nashville on April 8 for the women.

Both the Vols and Lady Vols are in the brackets, so Tennessee fans have a lot to cheer about this month. Since there are 64 teams on the women’s side and 68 selected on the men’s side, there are plenty of teams for everyone to get behind from the Cinderella upsets – who can forget last year’s dunk city success by Florida Gulf Coast? – to the favorites seeking to showcase that No. 1 seed.

March Madness is also synonymous with gatherings, whether you are hosting a party or packing a bar with fellow fans and friends. A timeless favorite for what basketball fans consider the best time of the year is Miller Lite brewed by MillerCoors. Triple Hops Brewed and locked-in taste, this American-style lager is as American as basketball.

The game was founded in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith at Springfield College, the birthplace of basketball. Naismith invented the game as a way to keep football players in shape and physically engaged over the winter – there is a lot of snow on the ground in Springfield, Mass., at that time of year – and thus an American pastime emerged.

Naismith used peach baskets for goals, which necessitated a stoppage in play to retrieve the ball after a score, and thus the modern name of basket for a made shot. That would make a nice prop for your basketball party with a basket full of peaches, alongside Smirnoff Ice Peach Bellini, a ready-to-pour malt beverage brewed by Smirnoff.

On a side note, Naismith was a native of Canada. So, toast the father of basketball with Labatt Blue, a fine pilsner brewed by Labatt, before knocking down a few shots of your own while waiting on tipoff.

Fans love to fill out brackets for the NCAA tournaments, but the upsets and unforeseen outcomes – here is a great slideshow compilation of the 16 Biggest Upsets – will bust those brackets. Crack open an Angry Orchard Iceman if you have to view the tattered remains of your predictions. If your brackets are a thing of beauty, celebrate with the aptly named Abita Jockamo IPA, a pale ale of caramel and red malts brewed by Louisiana-based Abita with a signature bold delivery.

So, may good fortune be with your team, and, as always, drink responsibly!

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