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Going Global With The World Beer Cup – Lotte Peplow

by | maj 15, 2024 | 0 comments

Jamtlands Ananas IPA
Jamtlands Ananas IPA
Jämtlands-IPA-Kvadrat

What makes an international beer competition truly global?  Lotte Peplow, Brewers Association American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe looks at the latest World Beer Cup®.

There are many international beer competitions around the globe today all purporting to find the best beers in the world. This is a bold claim to make if the competition itself does not attract a truly international list of entries or is not judged by an international jury with eclectic palates and different perspectives.

The World Beer Cup, organised by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent American craft breweries which took place last week in Las Vegas, is one such competition that stands apart as a genuinely global contest. Its goal is to identify up to three world class beers that best represent each beer style category according to the Brewers Association style guidelines and is the one competition that brewers the world over want to win. New styles may be added (or deleted) from the guidelines according to relevance and this year West Coast IPAs and pastry stouts were new additions. Last month’s World Beer Cup was the first year they were judged.

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For any brewery winning a medal at World Beer Cup is huge but for international entries from little known corners of the brewing world it is gargantuan. They may be competing with internationally or regionally focused styles and win success in unexpected categories. For example, in 2024 a brewery from Seoul, Korea won gold in the speciality saison category, a Brazilian brewery won gold in contemporary gose and old/strong ale styles and Australia won in Gluten-Free beer.

Congratulations to Beer Flag from Oslo, Norway for winning a medal with Goat Headed Trinity, a 12.5% ABV Doppelbock in the Other Strong Beer category

Here are the facts….

  • The World Beer Cup is the biggest and therefore the most competitive beer competition in the world attracting 9,300 entries from 2,060 breweries across 50 countries, 25% of which were international breweries in the 2024 iteration.
  • There were 280 judges of whom 103 were from overseas spanning 37 countries.
  • Awards were judged in 110 categories, covering 172 beer styles (including all sub-categories) with the total number of possible awards at 330.
  • Judging took place over a period of seven days, four in the first phase in Colorado and three in the second phase in Las Vegas, with winners announced on the final night of the Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo America®.
  • The World Beer Cup started in 1996 and took place bi-annually until 2022 when it became annualised.

 

In 2024, the most entered styles were:

  • Juicy/Hazy India Pale Ale with 326 entries
  • West-Coast Style India Pale Ale with 281 entries
  • German-Style Pilsner with 221 entries
  • American-Style India Pale Ale with 213 entries
  • Wood & Barrel-Aged Strong Stout with 198 entries
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The World Beer Cup offers a unique benefit to overseas entries by providing a series of consolidation hubs throughout the world in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, UK, Japan and Mexico.  The Brewers Association arranges for beers to be air-freighted from the consolidation hubs to the USA and covers the cost.   A level playing field for all entries is provided, for example by judging more delicate beer styles that might degrade rapidly in the first phase of judging to ensure overseas entries are not disadvantaged. 

Winning breweries are free to use the World Beer Cup logo on their packaging and website to promote their success.  Multi-award winner Fred Karm, founder/brewmaster of Hoppin’ Frog Brewer in Akron, OH, explains why winning is important:

”Winning a medal at the World Beer Cup gave my salesman a great talking point and product to promote with our distributors. And it gave our distributors a great talking point and product to promote with our vendors, and our vendors to our consumers. As saturated as the craft beer market has become, that’s increasingly helpful.”

Alesmith Brewing Co from San Diego, CA regularly celebrates World Beer Cup success and President Brandon Richards comments: “Winning at the World Beer Cup signifies a pinnacle of success for AleSmith Brewing Company. It signifies our relentless pursuit of quality and innovation, reinforcing our position as a trailblazer in the craft beer industry. These victories not only boost sales by increasing consumer confidence and interest but also uplift team morale, motivating us to continue producing exceptional brews. Furthermore, these accolades elevate our reputation worldwide, attracting new patrons and solidifying our image as a brewery renowned for excellence and creativity in the brewing community.”

“Each award represents not only exceptional quality but also innovation and creativity, driving the global craft beer industry forward,” said Chris Williams, World Beer Cup competition director. “This year’s winners exemplify the spirit of craftsmanship and ingenuity and showcase the diverse flavours and techniques that make beer an art form. Congratulations to this year’s winners for their outstanding achievements in brewing.”

Fortunately for American craft beer lovers around the world many US winning craft breweries export overseas so look out for award-winning American craft beer in Systembolaget, Vinmonopolet or Alko and on trade venues throughout Scandinavia.   Sweden is an important export market for American craft beer and the largest in the EU accounting for 7.1% of all exports.    It is the third largest globally behind Canada and the UK.

 

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Get Involved

Next year World Beer Cup and Craft Brewers Conference will be held in Indianapolis, 28 April – 1 May 2025.  Registration opens in November 2024.  More info: World Beer Cup

The Brewers Association publishes a wealth of resources to understand and enjoy craft beer, downloadable free of charge from www.brewersassociation.org

About the author: Lotte Peplow is the American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in London, UK.  She is a Certified Cicerone®, BDI accredited Beer Sommelier, beer writer, author, speaker, beer communicator, international beer judge, homebrewer and beer lover

All Images ©️  Brewers Association

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Skrivet av Lotte Peplow

Certified Cicerone, accredited Beer Sommelier, international beer judge and beer writer who conducts talks and tastings about American craft beer, organises events and is a keen advocate of beer and food pairing. She’s been involved with the Brewers Association, a trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, for many years and in 2019 was awarded the title of American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe. Based in London, UK, Peplow is also a member of CAMRA’s London tasting panel.

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