Details for Entering

Download Your Brewers Guide to Registering (PDF)

All information in the PDF is also available on this site.

Registration Process

Registration  involves a three-step process consisting of brewery, beer and booth registration. Here is a quick look at the registration process for GABF competition and festival participation.

Step 1: Brewery Application Period: Tuesday, June 21 – Thursday, June 30*

  • Breweries apply online to participate
  • A $160 application fee (for BA Members / $385 for non-members) is due by credit card at this time. This application fee also covers the cost of your first beer entry. This fee is non-refundable.
  • Don’t forget to check the box! Breweries indicate if they are interested in having a booth at the festival or only participating in the competition.
    • these breweries also indicate if they are interested in participating in the new “Meet the Brewer” portion of the festival hall.
  • Beers will be entered at a later date. The number of beers each brewery may enter will be based on the number of breweries participating (*see below).

Step 2: Competition Beer Registration: Tuesday, July 5 – Friday, July 15

  • Breweries that have applied will receive an email with instructions on how many beers may be entered into the competition*.
  • Breweries will enter their competition beers online and select the  appropriate competition categories for each beer.

Step 3: Festival Booth & Beer Registration: Monday, August 15 – Friday, August 19

  • By August 15, breweries are notified if they will have a booth at the festival. Cost for a booth is $250 for BA Members (non-members are not eligible for a booth at the festival).
  • If demand exceeds capacity for festival booth space, booth spaces will be assigned via lottery, based on geographical region.
  • Breweries confirm the beers being poured at the festival. The intent is to have beers being poured at the festival be the same as those entered in the competition.

*In 2015, 1,552 breweries applied and competed in the GABF competition.  A maximum of 7,000 beers can be judged at the 2016 competition. The maximum number of beer entries per brewery will be determined by dividing 7,000 by the number of breweries that enter. In the unlikely event that more than 1,580 breweries enter the competition prior to the deadline, the brewery application may close/move to a waitlist situation prior to June 16.

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Brewery Eligibility & Requirements

Is My Brewery Eligible?

Breweries must meet each of the following conditions as of June 21, 2016:

  • Your brewery is fully licensed for the manufacture and commercial sale of beer in the US
  • Your brewery has a Basic Permit/Brewers Notice on file with the TTB (U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau)
  • Your brewery is currently open and operating with at least one beer that is currently commercially available for sale at retail to the public (i.e. tap room, bar, restaurant, retail store).
  • All beers entered by your brewery meet criteria in the “Is My Beer Eligible” section listed below
  • Breweries in planning, homebrewers and other breweries not meeting these criteria are not eligible to enter.

If a brewery does not meet these eligibility requirements as of June 21, 2016 and registers for the Great American Beer Festival and/or competition, that brewery is subject to disqualification without further notice and no refund of fees will be issued.

Breweries in planning and/or those not operational and open the the public as of June 21, 2016 are not eligible to participate.

Is My Beer Eligible?

*Please note that in order for beer to be eligible for entry, your brewery must first meet all brewery eligibility requirements. If your brewery does not meet all of the requirements, your beer is not eligible for entry in the GABF.

Beer Eligibility Criteria

All beers entered in the 2016 GABF must currently be, or at one time have been, commercially available for sale at retail on or before August 19th , 2016. “Commercially available” means the entered brand has been available for sale at retail under the same exact brand name as entered on the GABF entry registration form. Breweries and beer brands registered for the GABF which do not fit these criteria are subject to disqualification without further notice or refund of registration fees.

All beer entries must possess the characteristics generally attributed to and conforming to consumer understanding of “beer.”

  • Meads, ciders, spirits, hard sodas and flavored malt beverages including kombuchas and most shandies & radlers are not eligible to be entered in the GABF competition.
  • A minimum 51% of the fermentable carbohydrates must be derived from malted grains.
  • Competition beer entries must contain hops. Exceptions to this include gruit or other historical beer styles that traditionally use other herbs or spices (such as heather or yarrow, for example).
  • Beverages made with malt substitutes, honey, fruit or fruit juices or anything other than malted grains as the majority of fermentable sugars are not eligible to participate.
  • All beer entries comply with all TTB regulations, including formula approval requirements (as stated in Title 27, Chapter 1, Part 25, Subpart F, §25.55 of the Federal Code of Regulations).

*Brewers Association retains sole discretion to determine eligibility for competition at the Great American Beer Festival.

What if My Beers Are Contract Brewed By Another Brewery?

If you own the rights to a brand, but your beer is produced by another brewery, you are still eligible to enter the GABF. Enter the TTB Basic Permit/Brewers Notice number of the brewery producing the beer on your registration entry. Any award won by a contract brand is property of the winning contract brewery which owns the brand, not the brewery producing the beer.

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Brewery Entry Limits

How Many Categories May I Enter?

  • Each beer brand may be entered only one time.
  • A beer brand may not be entered in multiple categories.
  • A beer brand may not be renamed and entered in multiple categories.
  • Beer brands may not be entered by more than ONE brewery in a chain of stores, brewing company, by breweries with related names or aligned marketing strategies, or by multiple breweries that have collaborated on a brand

How many beers can I enter in the competition?

This number is TBD and is based on number of brewery applications. Approximately 7,000 total competition entry spots will be divided among registered breweries. No single brewery/brewing location is allowed to enter more than the designated maximum number of competition beer entries.

We have a bunch of different locations, how many beers can I enter?

Twenty (20) Beers. No group which owns multiple breweries, whether packaging breweries and/or brewpubs, may enter more than a total of 20 combined beers.

For example, Chad’s Brewing Incorporated owns 10 breweries around the country. A maximum of 20 competition entries total may be entered by Chad’s Brewing Incorporated. The number of entries per brewery location may not exceed the established maximum number of competition entries for single location breweries.

Additionally, if a brewery opts to enter multiple locations, only the location indicated as the brewery entering a specific beer may promote any medal win for that beer. In other words, if Chad’s Brewing Inc. enters 2 breweries, Chad’s Big Bad Brewing Company and Chad’s Brewpub, and Chad’s Brewpub wins a gold medal with their IPA, only Chad’s Brewpub may claim that medal and promote that medal win. Chad’s Big Bad Brewing Company may not promote this medal win, even if they carry or produce that same beer.

Restaurant groups/Corporate Competition Entries

In instances where a brewing group or corporate entity owns multiple stores that brew the same core brands across multiple locations, the overarching company may choose to enter a select group of brands, adhering to the 4 or 5 beer cap in place for all other breweries in the GABF. These brands may be entered under a single unit “corporate” entry and the preferred name of the company, in which any medals earned for these beers may be attributed to all locations under that group that offer that beer. In addition to these entries, these groups may also enter individual locations separately in the competition with their own unique competition entries, with any wins from those beers being attributed only to the brewery they were entered under. Again, the overall maximum for the overall group may not exceed twenty (20) entries, and the number of entries per individual brewery in the GABF may not exceed the stated “entry per brewery” cap.

Brewery of the Year Categorization Requirement for multi-location entries:

Brewing Companies entering separate packaging and brewpub locations are required to enter both locations under the same BOY category (whichever is the larger of the two). For instance, a company may not enter a packaging facility as a “Small Brewing Co.” and a brewpub location as “Mid-Size Brewpub”, but instead must enter both facilities as “Small Brewing Co.”.

For example, if Moe’s Brewing Company enters both Moe’s Brewing Company Production Facility (producing 100,000 BBL) and Moe’s Brewpub (producing 7,000 BBL) in the competition, both locations must compete in the largest applicable BOY category for the company as a whole. In this case, both compete in Mid-Size Brewing Company.

The BA will re-categorize incorrect entries as needed.

See all “Brewery Of the Year” information here

Festival Beer Caps

In the event the number of competition entries allowed per brewery are 4 or less, each brewery with a festival booth may pour up to 5 festival beers at their booth. No brewery may exceed five beers at their booth

The only exception is for breweries that sponsor the event. Sponsor breweries are allowed to pour up to 10 beers at their festival booth.

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Cost to Participate

GABF Pricing
Application fee (includes first competition beer entry) $160 for BA Members ($385 non-members)
Additional Competition Beer Entries $160 for BA Members ($385 non-members)
GABF Booth Fee $250 for BA Members (non-members are not eligible for festival booth at GABF)

Please note that the pricing reflects on-line registration prices.

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Helpful Suggestions for Completing the Entry Form

  • When registering online, you’ll be able to select from a pre-populated list of your brewery’s current beer offerings, as listed in If the beer you’d like to enter is not shown in this list, you may choose “other” to enter a new brand.
  • For categories requiring additional specialty information for judging, you’ll be able to select from various base styles, brewing processes, and container information (barrel-aging, etc.) to supplement your entry for judging. If you prefer, you can simply type your specialty information, which will be reviewed.
  • When entering beers with ingredients like fruit, vegetables, spices or chocolate (or others), avoid words like extract, puree, fresh, all natural, artificial, concentrate, frozen or canned; just indicate which ingredient is used. For example, both “Fresh Raspberries” and “Raspberry Extract” would be indicated simply as “Raspberry.” Extraneous words are removed from your description and are not provided to the judge panel.
  • Do not specify any regional information that could compromise the anonymity of your entry. For example, “Arizona Wildflower Honey” should be listed as “Wildflower Honey.”
  • Be sure to indicate pouring instructions for each entry. Your choices are “Normal Pouring”, “Do Not Rouse”, and “rouse.” If you do not specify pouring instructions, the default value of “normal pouring” is used for your entry. Pouring instructions entered during registration are used exclusive to any markings on entry containers or labels
  • A minimum of six entries is required in a category for that category to be judged. Categories with fewer than six entries as of the competition registration deadline will be recombined at the discretion of the competition manager as a subcategory of another appropriate category in order for those entries to be judged. Breweries with entries in these categories will be notified, and given the option of accepting this recombination, or withdrawing those entries.

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