Russian River Brewing’s Classy Response to Pliny Losing Top Spot in ‘Best Beers’ Poll

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pliny dethroned in poll
File photo shows the Russian River team celebrating a previous No. 1 ranking in Best Beers in America poll. (File:

Russian River Brewing just had the best response to its Pliny losing the No. 1 spot in Zymurgy’s “Best Beers in America” poll.

Pliny had an eight-year reign as the top-ranked beer in Zymurgy Magazine’s annual Best Beers in America poll. But a few weeks ago, the streak ended as Zymurgy readers voted Bell’s Two Hearted into the top spot. Pliny took second place.

(READ: 7 Breweries Worth a Detour)

Well, you know how polls go on social media. There were the typical cries of “Fake News!” and “This list is so lame!” that usually accompany ranked lists (you can check ’em out on our Facebook post). But maybe the internet instigators should take a cue from how Russian River handled being dethroned.

Bell’s Brewing posted a photo to its Facebook account Thursday, showing a congratulatory handwritten note and a bottle of Pliny from the Russian River team.

“Congratulations! You finally knocked the ‘king’ off the throne,” the letter reads. “Please accept this case of the second place beer out of sincere respects.”

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Bell’s tells its Facebook followers it’s “Honored to be among such great company.” They also told the Russian River crew to keep an eye on the mail for a special shipment.

(PS: Team Bell’s and Team Russian River, if you’re reading this, we like special deliveries, too.)

Have I mentioned I love craft brewers?! The breweries didn’t start a Twitter war. No one got snippy on Reddit. Instead, it’s an outright lovefest — the way it ought to be.

Jess Baker walked into a beer fest in 2010 and realized beer had come a long way from what her dad had been drinking since the 70s. She served as editor-in-chief of from spring 2016 to spring 2020, bringing you stories about the people who are the heartbeat behind U.S. craft brewing. She's a runner, a die-hard Springsteen fan, a mom who is always scouting family-friendly breweries, and always in search of a darn good porter. is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.