Beer drinkers around the world are a passionate bunch. They know a great beer when they taste it and spend hours waxing lyrical about their latest award-winning find with their beer boozing buddies.
Consequently, breweries worldwide are rising to please the punters with new brews that will win beer awards and beat off the brewing competition.
Beer awards, high profile beer festivals, beer contests and competitions provide a great opportunity for breweries to showcase their products, while at the same time impressing regular beer drinkers with their latest brews.
The Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA)
The Australian International Beer Awards is an annual event when top brewers from over thirty countries vie to clinch the coveted international beer awards. Winning a championship trophy beer award at the AIBA means world recognition and a place on the world map of top brewers. The grand champion for the 2005 ceremony was Doryman”s Dark Ale brewed by Pelican Pub and Brewery in Oregon.
Apart from holding beer contests, the AIBA beer festival organizes a host of additional activities, including seminars with master brewers, beer sampling, music and an opportunity to mix with like-minded folk in a laid-back setting.
World Beer Cup
A relative newcomer to the international beer awards arena, the biannual World Beer Cup has become an important event within the beer drinking community since its first beer competition held in Vail, CO, in June 1996.
The first World Beer Cup contest came about because of pressure from non-U.S. brewers who were determined to get a foot in the door of the Professional Panel Blind Tasting at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Recent World Beer Cup events have enjoyed a huge international presence, with entries from an ever- increasing number of countries. In the 2004 World Beer Cup competition, 393 breweries from forty different countries submitted more than 1,500 beer entries.
Although competition is fierce to win a gold, silver or bronze plaque in the many different categories (i.e., small breweries, large breweries, American style beer, flavored beer), the main emphasis at the World Beer Cup is on pooling knowledge and sharing know-how with fellow brewers from around the world.
North American Beer Awards
The North American Beer Awards is an important annual event on the US brewers” and beer lovers” calendars. Under the aegis of the North American Brewers Association, this prestigious beer competition involves some of the nation”s best brewers slugging it out to win the commemorative gold, silver and bronze medallions inscribed with the North American Brewers Association logo and North American Beer Awards title.
Awards are given for a number of different categories. Some of the gold medal winners in 2004 were Whitetail Wheat in the American Wheat Beer category and Samuel Adams in the Munich Style Lager category.
The North American Beer Awards competition is held at the same time and venue as the popular Mountain Brewers Beer Festival. With free beer sampling and attractive brewery merchandise for sale, the Mountain Brewers Beer Festival is a feast for beer lovers across the United States. Sounds inviting!
Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)
CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) is a U.K. independent, voluntary, consumer organization committed to championing consumers of real ales. Along with working to improve competition and selection within the brewing industry, CAMRA seeks a fairer tax system for smaller brewers.
Great British Beer Festival
The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) is promoted as “the biggest real beer festival in the world” as well as “a beer drinker”s paradise.” With over 450 real ales to sample, the recent 2005 Great British Beer Festival certainly lived up to its billing!
The Great British Beer Festival is the culmination of several regional beer competitions organized by local CAMRA groups in the months preceding the GBBF. Only the best beers go forward to the national GBBF beer contest held at the London Olympia. Standards tend to be exceptionally high in all the beer competition categories.
The overall winners of beer awards at the 2005 CAMRA Great British Beer Festival were:
- Supreme Champion: Crouch Vale Brewers Gold (golden ale)
- Silver award: Grainstore Rutland Panther (mild)
- Bronze award: Woodfordes Wherry (bitter).
At the 2005 Great British Beer Festival, CAMRA also launched the Community Pubs Foundation in a bid to save local pubs from going out of business. The local pub is a British institution that serves as a meeting place for friends and is an integral part of British society. Most locals serve traditional real ales and quality beers that you”re unlikely to find in the majority of chain pubs and larger beer drinking establishments.
Winship, Kihm (November 1996). Champions: The world of beer competitions. Retrieved April 10, 2008, from the All About Beer Web site.