Eligibility & Participation

*NEW FOR 2019* the Brewers Guide to Registering for GABF will not be mailed!

Find the most up-to-date info on participating right here on this site.


Is my brewery eligible?

Breweries must meet ALL THREE of the following conditions as of June 18, 2019. Breweries not meeting these criteria, homebrewers, and breweries in planning (i.e. not open, operational, or meeting the criteria below) as of this date are not eligible to enter.

  1. Brewery must be fully licensed to both produce AND sell beer in the U.S.
  2. Brewery must have a Basic Permit/Brewers Notice on file with the TTB (U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau).
  3. Brewery must be currently open and operating with at least one beer that is currently commercially available for sale at retail to the public (e.g. tap room, bar, restaurant, retail store).

Breweries not meeting all criteria above and that register for the Great American Beer Festival and/or competition are subject to disqualification without further notice or refund of registration/entry fees.

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. The brewery producing your beers must meet the brewery eligibility requirements above. Enter the beers under the name of your brand, not the name of the brewery at which your beers are produced.

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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Are my beers eligible?

In order for beer to be eligible for entry, your brewery must first meet all above brewery eligibility requirements. If your brewery does not meet all of the requirements, your beer is not eligible for entry.

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


  • At least 51% of the fermentables must be derived from grain. Beverages made with malt substitutes, honey, fruit or fruit juices, or anything other than grain as the majority of fermentables are not eligible to participate.
  • 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).
  • 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).

Not Eligible

  • Mead, cider, spirits, hard soda, hard water, and flavored malt beverages including kombucha and most shandies and radlers (see first and second bullet point in “eligible” section) are not eligible to be entered in the GABF.
  • Beer brands whose volume contains more than 50% of beer liquid manufactured outside the U.S. are ineligible (i.e. collaborations with non-U.S. breweries where the majority of the beer was produced abroad).
  • Beer brands that have greater sales of beer imported into the U.S than sales of that brand produced/manufactured in the U.S. are ineligible.

The Brewers Association retains sole discretion to determine eligibility for the Great American Beer Festival.


Cost to Participate

GABF Pricing
Application fee (covers cost of first beer entry into competition) $160 for BA Members ($385 non-members)
Additional Competition Beer Entries (cost per entry) $160 for BA Members ($385 non-members)
Pro-Am Entry Fee $160 For BA Members (non-members not eligible)
Collaboration Beer Competition Entry Fee $160 For BA Members (non-members not eligible)
Festival Booth Fee

  • Only applicable for breweries with a booth at the festival.
  • Includes 4 brewery representative badges for the festival (7 if in Meet the Brewer)
  • Includes draught setup and MicroStar keg program (if requested during booth registration)
$250 for BA Members Only (non-members are not eligible for festival booth at GABF)
Additional GABF Brewery Rep Badge – valid for all 4 sessions of festival (Badges Not Included for Competition-Only Breweries) $185 for BA Members w/ Festival Booth (without booth: $300 for BA Members / $325 for Non-members)

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Refund Policy

A full refund is given only in the event that your brewery cancels by July 26. No refunds will be given for beers or badges that are cancelled after this date. This includes instances where beers are not shipped for competition, and beers that are not recieved by the shipping deadline for judging. It is the brewery’s responsibility to track their shipments to ensure arrival in a timely manner.

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How many beers can I enter in the competition?

How many beers can I enter in the competition?

This number depends on the number of brewery applications received. Approximately 9,000 total competition entry spots will be divided among registered breweries based on the number of beers they indicate they plan to enter on their application (This is just an example, if 9,000 beers can be judged and 1,800 breweries enter to compete, each brewery can enter up to 5 beers in the competition. If 2,250 breweries enter to compete, each brewery would only be able to enter 4 beers each).

  • No single brewing location is allowed to enter more than the designated maximum number of competition beer entries determined.
  • No group that owns multiple breweries/has multiple locations may enter more than a total of 20 beers across all locations.
  • If you are planning to enter a Pro-Am Competition or Collaboration Beer Competition entry, these entries do NOT count toward your total entry limit and do not count towards Brewery of the Year awards. 
  • The number of brewery applications by a multiple-location group may not exceed the total number of physical brewing locations in that group
  • See the the infographic on Brewery of the Year awards for info on how your brewery should be entered.

Can I enter one beer into multiple categories?

Nope, each beer brand may be entered only once. Just pick the best category for that beer.

  • A beer brand may not be renamed and entered in multiple categories
  • Beer brands produced at multiple locations may not be entered by more than ONE brewery. This includes brands made at various locations within a chain of stores or breweries, by breweries with related names or aligned marketing strategies, or by multiple breweries that have collaborated on a brand.

Can I enter two or more beers into the same category?

Yes! As long as it’s not the same beer… that would be weird. 

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Brewery Classifications

Does my brewery fall into the “brewpub” or “brewing co.” category?

Brewpub: For the purposes of the competition, brewpubs are considered a restaurant-brewery (i.e. has its own kitchen for food service) that sells 25% or more of its beer on site. The beer is brewed primarily for sale in the restaurant and bar (not simply a taproom).

Brewing Co.: Small breweries that sell most of their beer out of a taproom but do not serve food from an in-house kitchen would fall into the “Brewing Co.” categories, based on 2018 barrelage production.

Complying with the BA Marketing and Advertising Code

In an effort to address concerns regarding sexually explicit, lewd, or demeaning brand names that reasonable adult consumers would find inappropriate, beer names entered into the GABF are expected to meet the guidelines in the Brewers Association Marketing and Advertising Code.

Entering breweries are responsible for knowing these rules as we will not police entry names prior to the competition. A review of past medal-winning brand names finds that very few medal-winning beers will be affected by this rule.

Beer names that do not meet the Marketing and Advertising Code will not be allowed to use the GABF trademark/logos or name to promote any brand that wins a GABF medal. Additionally, those brand names will not be marketed by the Brewers Association.

What you need to know:

  • GABF will not police beer brand names prior to competition.
  • GABF reserves the right to make final determination of approval for any brewery using GABF intellectual property when promoting medal-winning beers.
  • GABF reserves the right to make final determination (via an independent advertising code review panel) of whether a brand meets the Advertising and Marketing Code.
  • If a beer brand name is deemed to not meet the code, only the style of the beer (and not the actual beer name) will be announced on stage and published in the winners list.
  • In the event that the brand name of a medal winning beer entered in the GABF competition is found to not meet the Marketing and Advertising Code, the brewery that entered the medal winning beer is entitled to keep the medal earned within the GABF category in which the beer was entered.

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