In early May, brewers from around the world received awards from an elite international panel of judges in the 2012 Brewers Association World Beer Cup in Boulder, Colorado. The ninth biennial competition boasted the strongest field of entrants on record, with 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states entering 3,921 beers in 95 beer style categories.
A 17.7 percent increase over 2010, the entries were eligible for gold, silver and bronze awards in their respective categories. Judges presented a total of 284 awards. A detailed analysis of the entries and awards can be found in the 2012 World Beer Cup Fact Sheet.
“It’s called ‘The Olympics of Beer Competition’ for good reason,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association, the U.S.-based trade association that has put on the competition every two years since 1996. “The event brings together great brewers from all corners of the globe. Plus, the awards are highly regarded. A brewer who wins a World Beer Cup gold award knows that their winning beer represents the best of that beer style in the world. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup. The Brewers Association and the proud sponsors of our event thank all participating brewers for their involvement.”
The 2012 judging panel was the largest and most international in the history of the World Beer Cup. Judges from 27 countries conducted blind tasting evaluations of the beers to determine the winners. Drawn from the ranks of professional brewers and brewing industry experts, these 211 judges came mostly from international breweries, with some 67 percent from outside the U.S. In addition to the judging panel, over 250 volunteers helped sort beer entries and steward the competition.
The judging criteria are exacting—some categories are not given the full slate of awards if the panel decides that the entries do not merit recognition.
Award Highlights and Trends
The average number of beers entered per category was 41.
The category with the most entries was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 150 entries. The second most-entered category was Imperial India Pale Ale, with 93 entries. The German-Style Sour Ale category had the fewest number of entries at 11.<
The 2012 World Beer Cup saw substantial growth of entries in the American-Style India Pale Ale category. Category entries grew 41.5 percent over 2010 to make it the largest category of the 2012 competition.
Additionally, Champion Brewery and Champion Brewmaster awards are given in each of five brewery categories based on the awards won by each brewery in the given size category.
The five Champion Brewery/Brewmaster award winners are:
Small Brewing Company Category
Brauerei Michael Plank, Michael Plank
Mid-Size Brewing Company Category
Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Matthew Brynildson
Large Brewing Company Category
AB InBev, Claudio Ferro
Small Brewpub Category
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant-Media, Iron Hill Brewery Team
Large Brewpub Category
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Darron R S Welch
The complete list of award winners is available for download. Presenting Sponsor Krones, and Partner Sponsors Ball, Barth-Haas Group, Sahm, Siemens and Verallia, proudly supported the 2012 World Beer Cup.