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Lotte Peplow (pictured), American craft beer ambassador in Europe for the Brewers Association, looks at an exciting opportunity for UK brewers to gain international acclaim on the world’s brewing stage next year — and maybe even visit America!
Photographs: Brewers Association
The World Beer Cup is widely considered to be the most prestigious beer competition in the world, and is anecdotally known as the ‘Olympics of Beer’. That title is more fitting than ever before because the normally bi-annual competition was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, leaving a four-year gap between competitions.
The World Beer Cup highlights the breadth of the global craft brewing community, and winning an award symbolises one of the world’s greatest brewing achievements.
Developed in 1996, the competition celebrates the art and science of brewing, and continues to create greater consumer awareness about different beer styles and flavour profiles while promoting international brewing excellence. It’s organised by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit association representing small and independent American craft brewers.
Last held in 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee, the World Beer Cup smashed all records with 8,234 entries, the largest amount ever in the competition’s 16-year history, from 2,515 breweries in 66 countries, who vied for brewing excellence in 101 style categories that were judged by 295 international experts.
International entries increased by 48% over 2016 (of the 2,515 participating breweries, 807 were non-US), and were made by possible by the introduction of five new consolidation points around the world. For next year’s competition, the Brewers Association is introducing nine international consolidation points.
Brewers in the UK should send their beer to the UK consolidation point, in Hertfordshire, by 9th March, 2022. The Brewers Association will cover the cost of shipment via air-freight, moving the beer through Customs and taking away any hassle that a non-US brewer may potentially encounter. American brewery samples are due to the US consolidation point in Colorado by 18th March, to ensure little advantage accrues from being geographically closer to the heart of the competition.
Registration is open from 26th October to 10th November this yea, and winners will be announced at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 5th May 2022. In 2018, seven UK breweries won medals, gaining a winning rate of 5% — higher than the USA at 4%!
Who will win big this time? At the last World Beer Cup, American-style IPA was the biggest category with 377 entries, but in the latest Great American Beer Festival competition, held recently in Denver, Colorado, juicy/hazy IPA was the most entered category, with 427 beers vying for top honours. With travel to the USA shortly to open up, now is the time to start planning a trip to Minneapolis!
The UK is an important export market for American craft brewers, and the second largest market after Canada with 10.1% of all exports. Many American craft breweries are available here, such as Athletic Brewing Co, Cigar City Brewing Co, Heretic Brewing Co, Oskar Blues Brewery, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, and Stone Brewing Co.
American craft beer helped pioneer the global craft beer revolution and can be found in the UK’s bottle shops and on-line retailers, supermarkets, beer subscription services, and pubs, bars, and restaurants.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 5,400 US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.