Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest: Manufacturing Madness begins today!

Weinbrenner’s Thorogood boot is in the top 16 and moves on in the competition

Thorogood’s American Heritage 6″ tobacco safety toe work boot manufactured by Thorogood/Weinbrenner Shoe Company are in the running to be named “2023 Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and Johnson Financial Group announced the top 16 products moving on in the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest. Merrill’s Weinbrenner Shoe Company Thorogood American Heritage Tobacco Safety Toe Work Boot made it into the top 16 and is now the #12 seed in the Manufacturing Madness head-to-head bracket-style tournament.
Voting in the first round of the tournament begins today at and runs only six days, but voters can vote once each day in each of the match-ups.
Nearly 60,000 votes were cast during the contest’s initial, popular vote round.
“We’re immensely proud of our state’s manufacturers and the products they make,” said Kurt Bauer, WMC President & CEO. “These products showcase just how diverse Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry is. From vehicles and machinery to games and food products, Wisconsin companies manufacture some of the coolest things in the world.”
“Wisconsin is setting the standard for the rest of the nation when it comes to manufacturing excellence and showcasing the coolest products made here,” said Johnson Financial Group CEO, Jim Popp. “We’re looking forward to announcing this year’s winner – so many great products in the Top 16.”
The products voted into the Top 16 Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin are:

1 Seed: Plexus Corp. – Appleton: Bevi Bottleless Water Dispensers

2 Seed: Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats –Wittenberg: Applewood Smoked Bacon

3 Seed: AriensCo. –Brillion: Ariens 90th Anniversary Limited Edition Sno-Thro

4 Seed: Foxconn Industrial Internet –Mount Pleasant: Data Server

5 Seed: Milwaukee Tool –Mukwonago: Bolt Safety Helmet (USA) Type 2

6 Seed: Krier Foods –Random Lake: Jolly Good Soda

7 Seed: Midwest Products–Germantown: Mighty Hoop

8 Seed: John Deere Horicon Works –Horicon: Gator XUV 835R Signature Edition

9 Seed: 7fifteen Motorworks –Three Lakes: Troy Indy Special

10 Seed: Cedar Valley –Belgium: String Cheese

11 Seed: Stoughton Trailers –Stoughton: Dry Van Trailer

12 Seed: Thorogood –Merrill: American Heritage Tobacco Safety Toe Work Boot

13 Seed: Bay Tek Entertainment, Inc. –Pulaski: Skee-Ball

14 Seed: Minocqua Popcorn and Puffs –Minocqua: Minocqua Popcorn and Puffs

15 Seed: AMMO, Inc. –Manitowoc: Ammunition and Brass Casings

16 Seed: Fisher Barton –Watertown: LaserEdge Lawn Mower Blade

The first round of Manufacturing Madness consists of eight head-to-head matchups to determine the Top 8 Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin. Voting begins TODAY, Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3. Manufacturers, consumers, and the public are all eligible to vote daily in each of the matchups at

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