The numbers keep climbing as this year’s World Beer Cup competition topped 2014 stats for being the largest-ever commercial beer competition to date. Hosted by the Brewers Association during the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia this week, this edition saw 6,596 unique beers from 1,907 breweries – a 38.5% increase in entries from the last event only two years ago.
With a record-number of entries comes a record number of judges. The judging panel included 253 judges representing 31 countries evaluating beers across 96 distinct beer styles. 75% of these judges were from outside the U.S.
“This year’s judge panel was our most international ever, with three-quarters of judges travelling to Philadelphia from outside the U.S.,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, World Beer Cup. “Judges commented throughout the week that overall beer quality continues to improve across the spectrum of world beer styles. While breweries may hold the awards, beer drinkers around the world are the true winners.”
The three American IPA categories remain the dominant styles of the competition with American-Style IPA taking in 275 entries. Gold in this category was landed by none other than Anaheim, CA’s Noble Ale Works, who in recent years has been slowly picking up momentum as one of the strongest forces in the California craft beer community. Noble would move on to take bronze in the second-most congested category (Imperial IPA), a silver in German-style sour ale, and one of the biggest accolades of all, World Beer Cup Champion Brewery & Brewmaster in the Small Brewing Company sub-section for Evan Price & The Giants (Brad Kominek & Matt Frantz).
In neighboring Long Beach, Julian Shrago and the Beachwood BBQ & Brewing continue to dominate with big wins that included yet another title for Mocha Machine in the Coffee Beer category; climbing up two spots to Gold from their 2014 Bronze win and Bronze for Udder Love (Sweet Stout/Cream Stout). The biggest win of all: World Beer Cup Champion Brewery (Large Brewpub).
While states like California and Colorado continue to hold onto their ranks as the most decorated regions, this year’s awards saw a great showing from New Mexico, the UK, Germany and most notably, Japan, an up-and-coming beer market which saw 9 wins for 9 different breweries. This competition was also one of the most internationally diverse with notable wins for countries like Vietnam, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Taiwan.
The full list of 2016 World Beer Cup winners can be viewed/downloaded here: WBC-winners-2016
Congratulations to all the World Beer Cup winners! See you in 2018.