We’ve decided to put some front runners in our Wikibrands Awards contest and what better way to start it than to cover off a topic we have a lot of passion about – beer.

Ah, beloved beer – a delicious blend of four ingredients (sometimes more), part science/part art, something we commune over and enjoy, sometimes amply.  Quite a few our great, many are not. A perfect metaphor for Wikibrands!

Here are the top nine engagement and collaborative beer examples that have the pole position for our Wikibrand Awards (crowdsourced platform to follow in late 2010). Enjoy them, support and quaff them:

Flying Dog Brewery (Maryland) – great content, multiple blogs, well curated Twitter, Flickr and Facebook handles, a crowdsourced suggestion box, customer dinners, and a good story of its evolution involving Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman  @flyingdog

New Belgium Brewery and Fat Tire Ale (Colorado) – an eco-friendly brewery practice, best company to work for by Outside Magazine, employee-owned marketing materials and one-third employee owned, and an iconic Tour du Fat cycle series named after flaghip ale, plus employees who stay one year get a branded cruiser bike and after five years, a Belgian bike trip to discover Belgian provenance and brewing culture, plus a blog, community, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a fan-created 80 Clips of Faith  Beer and Film Series and Tour @newbelgium

Big Rock Brewery (Alberta) – champion of craft beer, folk festivals, lecture series, untapped independent music and the faux-styled Academy Awards named Eddies clebrating in black tie style crowdsourced beer videos  @bigrockbrewery

Molson Coors (Ontario)  – from mass brand to community blog, Brew 2.0 blogger outreach, qualified and certified employee Twitter training, Facebook,. Flickr and vlog extensions and customer olympic mural project @molsoncoors and its champion @molsonferg (who appears in our book)

Epic Beer (New Zealand) – an upstart brewery with a blog, eight social media extensions to this boutique brewery including Friendfeed, Digg, Foursquare and Gowalla, video-friendly content, photo competitions, claimed “first beer brand” status  on Twitter, blogger get-togethers and CEO-led connected face to the world  @epicbeer

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Delaware) -the off-centred beer with well-populated Twitter, Facebook and Youtube extensions, blog, forum and Fishfinder, off-centred filmfest, Brewmaster’s Suite hotel experience, grassroots buzz events (e.g. beer-sponsored Bocce tournament) and drinker evangelist programs  @dogfishbeer

Victory Brewing (Pennsylvania) – a fast growing brewery with blog, YouTube videos, bike rides, Facebook Fan Page, special treatment of brewery Foursquare mayor, and latest fascination of Gary Vee   @victorybeer

Brooklyn Brewery (New York) – one of the best and most frequently populated blogs, Flickr pages, a full listing of staff, wind power and beer education sessions and cruises  @brooklynbrewery

Budweiser Budhouse/Bud United (Missouri) – give credit where credit is due, Budweiser stole the buzz headlines from the soccer mainstays by hosting a reality show house of adoring fans from 32 countries with 900,000 Facebook fans during the World Cup 2010, democratizing FIFA’s man of the match and hosting a YouTube channel with over 4 million views, hopefully a model for future fan-based sports events – one open question – with that much commitment to the beautiful game, all the activity stopped August 6th, 2010 – what is the plan for these fervent Bud footie fans?

Send along more suggestions, particular global ones on the best engaged beer brands, and let’s raise some pints.

Cheers!  Slainte! Prosit!  Skal!  Kippis!  A votre sante!  Cin cin! Kampai!  Будем здоровы! zdrowie! L’Chaim! στην υγειά σας! Prost! به سلامتی! Gom bui!

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