by Jeremy Johnson, Category Manager
March is one of my favorite months. It means spring is almost here, and it has one of my favorite food holidays—St. Patrick’s Day with the corned beef and cabbage. There are also Reubens and corned beef hash, and that's followed up with what I think is the best sporting event there is: March Madness. With March Madness comes our Annual Cheese Challenge. This will be the fifth year we have done the Cheese Challenge. If you are not familiar with it, we take Wisconsin cheeses put them head to head in a bracket-style tournament and let our Owners vote to decide the winner.
We did make one small change to the format this year. In the past, we started with 32 cheeses; this year we cut that in half and are starting with only 16. Not because there are not enough great cheeses, but because it is hard to manage the logistics of that many potential cheeses moving on. Having fewer cheeses will allow us to put all of the participating cheese on sale for Owners. All 16 cheeses will be on sale at 10% off for the first week of the tournament, and the following week, the eight remaining cheeses will be on sale for 10% off.
The tournament begins at all three stores on Thursday, March 21 and 22. Voting will begin at 3:00pm. and end at 6:00pm. The hours will change during the weekend with voting starting at noon and going until 5:00pm. The way the voting works is there will be two cheeses (customers are strongly encouraged to try samples of both cheeses even if you don’t think you will like it because you might be surprised) and then vote on which of the two you like the most. Each of the days there will be two sets of two to vote for until the tournament ends on March 31, when the last two go head-to-head and one will be named the champion. Hook’s Triple Play Extra Innings, the cheese that has won the last two years, will not be participating this year as they have been added to our cheese hall of fame as the only back-to-back winner. The other winners have been Roelli Dunbarton Blue and Sartori Montamore.
Don’t forget to fill out the bracket (found on page 16) and submit before the tournament begins March 20 for your chance to win eight pounds of cheese.