Nearly 40,000 votes were cast in the newspaper's 32-brewery challenge, which Southern Tier started as a No. 5 seed in the East region. It had to beat higher seeds each step of the way, ending with its final round win over Founders Brewing Co., of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Voters gave Southern Tier the nod over these breweries in head-to-head contests in earlier rounds: The Alchemist of Burlington Vt., in Round 1; Dogfish Head of Rehoboth, Del. in Round 2; Victory of Downington, Pa. in Round 3; and Terrapin Brewing of Athens, Ga. in Round 4.