The following information provides details about brewery eligibility and important guidelines for the 2021 competition. Please take a moment to review each section thoroughly.
Cost to Participate
|Competition Entry Fee||Pricing|
|BA Member||$160 per beer|
|Non-Member||$385 per beer|
Breweries must meet ALL THREE of the following conditions as of June 8, 2021. 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.
- Brewery must be fully licensed to both produce AND sell beer in the U.S.
- Brewery must have a Basic Permit/Brewers Notice on file with the TTB (U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau).
- 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. taproom, 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.
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).
- Mead, cider, spirits, seltzers, 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 competition.
- 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.
A full refund of competition entry fees is given only in the event that your brewery cancels by July 23, 2021.
No refunds will be given for beers or badges that are canceled after this date. This includes instances where beers are not shipped for competition and beers that are not received by the shipping deadline for judging. It is the brewery’s responsibility to track their shipments to ensure arrival in a timely manner.
All regulatory and financial burdens associated with submitting and sending samples to the Great American Beer Festival are the sole responsibility of the entering brewery. In the event the competition is canceled the Brewers Association will only refund breweries their competition entry fees. The Brewers Association is unable to reimburse or pay for competition entry shipping fees. Any shipments sent as “C.O.D” will be refused upon arrival.
How many beers can I enter in the competition?
New this year, each brewery will be allowed to enter up to a maximum of 5 beers into the competition, based on availability.
Please note: our goal is to accommodate as many breweries as possible in an effort to host a robust competition; if demand for the competition exceeds capacity, breweries with a higher number of entries may be asked to reduce their entry count. Alternatively, if there is additional available competition space after registration closes on June 22, we may allow breweries to enter more beers, beyond the original entry cap.
No single brewing location is allowed to enter more than the designated maximum number of competition beer entries determined.
Groups that own multiple breweries/have multiple locations will be limited to an entry cap of 40 beers across all locations (subject to change, based on availability).
The number of brewery applications by a multiple-location group may not exceed the total number of physical brewing locations in that group
See Brewery of the Year to help you determine 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.
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 2020 barrelage production.
See additional competition information.
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.