GABF – No Brewery Left Behind


The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is a three-day annual event hosted by the Brewers Association, in Denver, CO since 1984 moving from its original place in Bolder(1982), CO. The GABF has come a long from their original 22 Bbeweries and 800 attendees. This year the GABF will have more than 3200 volunteers and over than 200 judges and will judge 90 beer styles. See beer styles

The Festival happens every year on the second half of September to early October.  The 2014 GABF is scheduled for October 2-4.

As an example of how important this festival is; last year’s tickets were sold in 20 minutes (Tickets runs around $80.00 per day) and the brewery spots filled in the first 2 hours. Between brewers and attendees there were more than 49K people attending and they served over 48,000 Gallons of beer, more than 3,100 unique beers.  (“GABF” Website.)

Such popularity among breweries and craft beer aficionados has caused the number of people willing to participate, breweries and attendees alike, to increase at an amazing rate. This year’s brewery registration opened on June 17th and runs to June 26th. Only legally operating commercial breweries in the U.S. are allowed to enter the Great American Beer Festival.

The GABF organizers have looked into ways to make sure every brewery that applies can participate in the 2014 festival. They announce that this year The BA will be able to judge around 5,400 beers; an increase comparing to 4300+ in 2012 and 4800+ in 2013.

According to BA’s Barbara Fusco, some changes were put in place to include every brewery willing to participate.  They decide to use a similar format to the World Cup of Beer, which also happened in Denver a few months ago and was successful model. They think this will avoid all the hassle from last year’s competition and alleviate the fear of breweries have of missing the chance to participate.

I’m sure they are also hoping to not have to issue another apology statement for all the inconvenience the attendees trying to get tickets had to go through with the so called “technical difficulties” on the 2013 pre-sale through Ticket Master.

They raised the cap for participation to 1400 breweries this year (they expect to be way under this number since last year they had 750 breweries applying and many didn’t make into the Festival). The idea is that will allow every brewery to be accepted.

So here is how it will work:

They will take the number of breweries that apply to the competition and divide by their total capacity of judging (more or less 5400). The way they explain on the GABF website is with a simple math.

5000 beers able to be judge /1000 breweries competing = 5 beers per brewery.

If for some unknown reason more the 1400 breweries apply, the registration will close at that point before the due date.

 Award Criteria

Gold A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.
Silver An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.
Bronze A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *