The Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers — announced the results of one of the largest commercial beer competitions to date, the 2014 World Beer Cup Awards. The awards were presented at the conclusion of Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America in Denver, Colo.
Drawing the highest number of entries to date, this edition of the World Beer Cup saw 4,754 beers from 1,403 breweries representing 58 countries — a 21 percent increase in the number of entries from the 2012 World Beer Cup, which had 3,921 entries.
Brewers from five continents earned awards from an elite international panel of judges at this tenth biennial competition, with brewers from 22 countries — ranging from Australia and Brazil to Taiwan and the United Kingdom — honored. Judges awarded 281 out of 282 total possible awards, reflecting the chance for one gold, one silver and one bronze award in each of 94 beer style categories.
This year’s event was particularly competitive; the proportion of winning breweries winning one or more awards was 18 percent, compared to 27 percent in 2012. There was a 75.6 percent increase in breweries competing this year versus 2012, which had 799 breweries that entered beers in the competition. A total of 253 breweries took home awards in 2014, a 16.6 percent increase over 2012.
A detailed analysis of the entries and awards can be found in the 2014 World Beer Cup Fact Sheet.
“Brewers from around the globe participate in the World Beer Cup to win recognition for their creativity and brewing skills,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association. “For a brewer, a World Beer Cup gold award allows them to say that their winning beer represents the best of that beer style in the world.”
A panel of 219 judges from 31 countries participated in this year’s competition, working in teams to conduct blind tasting evaluations of the beers and determine the awards. Drawn from the ranks of professional brewers and brewing industry experts, 76 percent of the judges came from outside the United States.
- The average number of beers entered per category was 50, up from 41 in 2012.
- The category with the most entries was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 223 entries.
- The second most-entered category was American-Style Pale Ale, with 121 entries.
- The third most-entered category was Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, with 111 entries.
- The 281 awards were won by 253 breweries, with very few breweries earning more than one award.
- 226 breweries won one award.
- 26 breweries won two awards.
- One brewery won three awards.
Competition Manager Chris Swersey commented, “This is the most diverse set of winning breweries in any World Beer Cup.”
The non-U.S. entry rate and winning rate tracked very closely in the 2014 competition, with 28 percent of beers entered coming from outside the United States, and 27 percent of awards going to beers entered from outside the United States.
Champion Brewery/Champion Brewmaster Awards
The competition also bestows Champion Brewery and Champion Brewmaster awards in each of five brewery categories based on the awards won by each brewery. Coronado Brewing Co. and Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant are first-time champion breweries in their categories.
The five Champion Brewery/Brewmaster award winners are:
Small Brewing Company Category
Darron Welch and Steve Panos
Mid-Size Brewing Company Category
Coronado Brewing Co. team
Large Brewing Company Category
Dr. David Ryder
Small Brewpub Category
Iron Hill Brewery team
Large Brewpub Category
The Brewers Association introduced the World Beer Cup competition in 1996 to celebrate the art and science of brewing by recognizing outstanding achievement. The 2014 World Beer Cup was sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Krones and Partner Sponsors Ball Corp., Barth-Haas Group, First Key Consulting Inc., Sahm and Siemens.