FAQ

Sign Up / Register to Participate (General Reg. Questions)

Pro-Am Questions

Entering the Competition

Festival Booth/Beer Info


When can I sign up to participate at GABF?

Whether you’re looking to participate in the competition, the festival, or both, registration for ALL breweries is open June 18 – June 26, 2019 at GABFRegistration.com.

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Do I need to complete an application if I only want to participate in either the competition or the festival?

Yes. Everyone (EVERYONE) needs to complete an application, regardless of if you only want to do the competition or the festival.

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Can I enter a beer if another brewery contract brews it for me?

If you own the rights to a brand, but your beer is produced by another brewery, you are still eligible to enter GABF. The brewery producing your beers must meet the brewery eligibility requirements. 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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How do I register for GABF?

Registration takes place online at GABFRegistration.com from June 18 – June 26, 2019. Only breweries who meet both beer & brewery eligibility requirements may register. back to top


How much does it cost to participate in GABF?

Pricing depends on what you’re doing, and if you’re a member of the Brewers Association. See pricing details.

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What info will I need when I complete the application (June 18 -26, 2019)?

See detailed information.

  • Company BA Member Number: locate this within your Brewers Association Company Admin Portal (see instructions). Questions? Email info@brewersassociation.org.
  • Valid BA roster email address and contact info of the person who will be handling all GABF-related items for your brewery (a.k.a. your brewery ninja). This person must be connected to your company’s Brewers Association membership roster. If it’s not in the system, the system won’t recognize you.
  • TTB Basic Permit/Brewer’s Notice Number
  • Brewery of the Year category: based on 2018 barrelage volume (Multiple locations? Consider the Brewery Group of the Year category!)
  • Brewmaster/Brewery Team Name: individual(s) (up to 2) or a team name you’d like to recognize if you win Brewery of the Year.
  • Festival Booth: Check the box to indicate having interest in having a booth at the festival (Brewers Association members only, a booth is not guaranteed).
  • Number of Competition Entries: How many beers you hope to enter in GABF competition? (For planning purposes only. Number requested is not guaranteed).

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Is my brewery eligible to enter the competition and/or festival?

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.

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Can I get a refund?

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 received 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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What if I don’t know my brewery’s BA Company ID Number?

Please request this from our member services team by emailing info@brewersassociation.org or by calling 303-447-0816 ext. 2.

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How do I find out who is on our company roster?

Please request this from our member services team by emailing info@brewersassociation.org or by calling 303-447-0816 ext. 2.

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Where do I find information on the Pro-Am Competition?

Learn more about the Pro-Am Competition.

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Am I required to provide the Pro-Am beer for the AHA Pro-Am booth at the festival?

Yes, breweries who want to enter a beer into the Pro-Am Competition are also required to send this beer to be poured from the Pro-Am Booth at the festival.

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Can a brewery representative or the homebrewer of the entry pour at the AHA Pro-Am booth?

Yes, but they must sign up in advance as a volunteer for the dedicated Pro-Am Booth. If a brewery representative or homebrewer is interested in volunteering to pour at the booth, please contact John Moorhead (john@brewersassociation.org) for more information. We cannot accept day-of walk ups to pour at the booth.

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Can I request when my beer is going to be poured at the Pro-Am booth?

You may, and it will be considered when determining the beer lineup for each day.

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How much beer do we need to supply for the Pro-Am booth at the festival?

1/6 bbl keg is preferred, or equivalent case quantity. To request a MicroStar 1/6 bbl (at no cost), please email williams@brewersassociation.org by July 19, 2019 to do so.

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What are the requirements of the homebrewer in the Pro-Am?

See Pro-Am rules and regulations, which includes homebrewer requirements.

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Will the homebrewer know which day their beer is being poured and have an opportunity to buy a ticket to that session?

Yes, the Pro-Am Competition coordinator will email all homebrewers with the day their beer is being served and how to purchase tickets separate of the public sale.

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Are there specific hotels we should book for GABF?

Yes, the Brewers Association has negotiated reserved blocks at various nearby hotels, offering special rates for GABF Brewers and attendees.

The importance of reserving a hotel room at one of the official GABF hotels cannot be stressed enough. The Brewers Association makes every effort to keep member expenses as low as possible. We negotiate the best hotel group rates to keep the meetings affordable.

When folks reserve a room with an official GABF hotel, he or she is helping to support not only the event in the current year, but also future meetings. The Convention and Visitors Bureau rates the “economic attractiveness” of an event largely based on the number of hotel nights booked in the official room blocks.

Hotel rooms booked is also a determining factor in the amount of convention center space made available to the GABF each year. Visit Denver, aka the Convention and Visitors Bureau, will only guarantee the GABF 3-4 exhibit halls based on current and historic hotel room pick up. If they’re unable to book another “shoulder” group 18 months out from the event, then additional halls are made available.

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I have a question about my hotel reservation / making a reservation, who should I reach out to?

Please reach out to greatamericanbeerfestival@conferencedirect.com.

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When will I receive Grog Tags (keg tags) for my festival kegs?

Grog Tags will be mailed in late August.

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What types of beers are eligible to compete?

First and foremost, your brewery must meet all 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”.

Eligible

  • 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.

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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.

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What is the BA Advertising & Marketing Code and how does it relate into GABF Participation?

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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How many beers can my brewery enter into 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.  For 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.

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.

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.

The number of brewery applications by a multiple-location group may not exceed the total number of physical brewing locations in that group

Use this infographic to help you determine how your brewery should be entered.

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Can I enter one beer into multiple categories (i.e. “Double-enter” one beer)?

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

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Can I enter multiple/different beers into the same competition category?

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

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When do I actually enter my beer info for the competition? I didn’t see it on the application.

Beer registration takes place July 2 – July 11 for breweries who completed the online application.

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What if I need to change info for a beer / change a beer I entered in the competition?

Log into www.GABFRegistration.com with your 4-digit GABF Brewery ID number and make the change. Changes will be accepted until August 23, based on category availability.

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Can I change my beer from xxx category to xxx category?

That depends, please email the following info to GABF@brewersassociation.org and we’ll see if we can do it, depending on the inventory we have for the competition. Please provide complete details for the change, including:

  • Your BreweryID
  • The Original Entry Name & Category
  • New Entry Name
  • New Entry Category NUMBER and name (and subcategory letter, if applicable)
  • Any specialty info that goes with the entry, if required by the Style Guideline

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I need to add some tasting notes on my beer for judges. How do I do that?

Only certain categories allow for additional notes for judges (see style guidelines). Assuming the category you’ve entered your beer into allows for this, log onto www.GABFRegistration.com and make the edits via the online style-builder. If your beer is entered in a category that does not allow for additional judging info, consider switching to a category that allows for this if this information is crucial to judging, or leave it where it is without the additional information for judging.

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Do brewers receive judge feedback on their entries after the competition is over?

Yes, breweries will receive tasting notes either electronically or via snail mail within 1 month after the competition ends.

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How is GABF Judged?

Competition Information

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What are the various Brewery of the Year categories that breweries are classified into?

Learn more about the Brewery of the Year categories.

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We have multiple locations and want to enter beers from all of them. What are our options to compete?

See this fun infographic.

Both scenarios allow you to enter beers from all locations, but they differ in how this all factors into Brewery of the Year awards.

  • Have all locations compete together for Brewery Group: each location enters a selection of beers, up to a total of 20 among the whole group, and no more than 4-5 for each location. Any awards won by any location in the group count towards “Brewery Group”
  • Choose one location to compete for Brewery of the Year: each location can enter their own set of beers (same totals restrictions apply), but only beers from one location will count towards a Brewery of the Year award for the size of that location. Beers from the other locations, regardless of medals one, will not count towards any sort of brewery of the year award.

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If a brewery enters more beers because they have more locations, doesn’t that mean they have a way better chance of winning?

Nope, read closely: Brewery Group winner is determined by total number of points awarded (Gold = 6 pts | Silver = 5 pts | Bronze = 4 pts), divided by total number of beers entered by that brewery group.

For example, if a brewery enters 2 sets of beers from their 2 locations (let’s say a total of 10 beers for the group), and wins 2 gold medals, that’s 12 points / 10 beers. They have a winning total of 1.2. If another brewery enters the max of 20 beers across 4-5 locations, and wins 2 gold medals, that’s 12 points / 20 beers. Their winning total is .6. So the smaller 2-location brewery wins in this scenario.

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How much beer do I need to send for judging?

It depends on the size of the individual format you’re sending (12oz bottles/cans, 22oz bottles, crowlers, etc.), as well as the category the beer is entered in (large categories, such as IPA’s and some wood/barrel-aged categories require more beer since there are more rounds of judging needed).

See a complete breakdown of how much you should be sending.

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Do I need to label my beers any particular way for judging?

Yes, specific competition labels that should be used will be emailed out in early August. To ensure accuracy in sorting and judging, please only use these labels.

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Do I need to remove my commercial labels from my beers before sending them in?

Nope, judging for GABF is done blind, meaning there’s no need to remove your labels from your bottles/cans before sending in. Just make sure you’ve put our competition labels on each bottle/can.

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How should I ship my beers for the competition?

By far, the best bet is to team up with other nearby breweries or even your local guild to create a freight shipment direct to Colorado. Barring that, UPS and FedEx are acceptable options, but know that unless your brewery has a business account that allows for shipping alcohol, they may not allow you to ship your beer. DO NOT ship your beers using the US Postal Service as it is illegal.

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UPS / FedEx is refusing to ship my beers, what should I do?

You may find it easier to schedule a pickup from your home, instead of taking it into a store or having it picked up from the brewery. It may also help to remove any mention of your brewery or beer on the box (instead of Great American Beer Festival, use “GABF”, or instead of “Brewery ID”, just list “ID”).

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How should I package my beers when shipping?

  • Remember to put your 4-digit GABF BreweryID number on your box, as well as the “Package Number of Total” (i.e. 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3, etc.)
  • Place all bottles standing upright in the shipping container. All bottles should be placed in the same direction (lids up) wrapped in bubble wrap. Use your standard four- or six-pack holder to help keep bottles secure.
  • Fill the shipping container to the top with packaging materials. Packing peanuts are NOT recommended. If used, make sure peanuts are enclosed in a plastic bag.
  • Wrap the original box in a plastic bag to avoid possible leakage and then place the box in a strong shipping box filled with more packing material.
  • If more than one box of entries is being shipped, be sure to keep the samples of each brand in the same box and to label each box as “box 1 of 2,” “box 2 of 2,” etc.). Do not split bottles of the same brand/entry into separate boxes.
  • Coolers or other special containers will not be returned, however the beers that arrive in specialized containers will be judged and tend to withstand the rigors of shipping.

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Do Fresh Hop category entries have an extended shipping deadline?

Yes! Fresh Hop entries have an extended deadline of September 17 to be received in Colorado for sorting. Only entries in the Fresh Hop category (category 20) have this extended deadline. Entries in all other categories must be received between August 26 – August 30 in Colorado.

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How much beer do you recommend a brewery send for their booth?

Generally speaking, two 1/6 bbls to one 1/2 bbl per brand (or 5-7 cases per brand) is sufficient for most breweries. That said, if you have one of those heavily sought after brands and know you’ll need more, by all means, please increase the amount you send for that brand!

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How does my brewery sign up for a booth at the festival?

During the application phase (June 18 – June 26) BA Member Breweries may indicate they’re interested in having a booth at the festival. Depending on how many breweries indicate interest, we may have to allocate breweries via random lottery selection. Breweries will be notified if they have a booth at the festival by July 15.

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How does my brewery sign up to participate in the Meet the Brewer booths at the festival?

During the application phase (June 18 – June 26) BA Member Breweries may indicate they’re interested in having a booth at the festival as well as participating in Meet the Brewer. Depending on how many breweries indicate interest, we may have to allocate breweries via random lottery selection. Breweries will be notified if they have a booth at the festival by July 15.

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How does my brewery sign up to be in Paired at GABF?

During the application phase (June 18 – June 26) BA Member Breweries may indicate they’re interested in having a booth at the festival as well as participating in Paired. Breweries will be notified if they have been selected to participate in Paired by July 15.

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How many beers can my brewery pour at the festival?

Standard in-line booths and Meet the Brewer booths may pour up to 5 beers at their booth. Featured brewery end-cap sponsors may pour up to 10 beers at their booth.

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How do I sign up for one of those big end-cap booths?

Featured brewery end-caps are sponsored booths. To find pricing and availability, please reach out to advertising@brewersassociation.org.

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Do I need to bring my own draught equipment for the festival?

You are certainly allowed to, but please know that the GABF is happy to provide your brewery with a draught tower at no cost to your brewery. If you choose to take this option, the GABF will ice, tap and pressurize all draught beers sent in Sankey kegs. The majority of breweries take advantage of our tapping service. If you choose to tap your beers yourself, please provide a complete draught system (faucets, taps, lines, CO2, etc.). If you bring your own equipment, the GABF will still provide keg containers and ice.

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What is the MicroStar Program?

The GABF works with MicroStar Keg Management to ship kegs directly to your brewery to fill with your festival beers. If you request MicroStar kegs, they are shipped directly to your brewery (pickled and passivated) at no cost to you. Fill them, label them with the assigned GABF keg tags, get them to your chosen drop-off point, and they’ll meet you at the festival. Once the festival is over, your job is done, and you won’t have to worry about handling any kegs.

See this handy infographic showing you how it all works!

MicroStar Program Details

  • Any participating GABF brewery who is not currently a Micro Star client (current Micro Star clients are required to send their own MicroStar kegs as well).
  • Any brewery choosing to receive MicroStar kegs will receive 2 – 1/6 barrel kegs for every brand you are sending for the festival. (Breweries in the Meet the Brewer hall at the festival will receive one 1⁄2 bbl per brand).
  • Current MicroStar clients should use their existing inventory and will receive credit from MicroStar for the kegs sent to the festival.
  • For existing MicroStar clients, please send no more than one 1⁄2 barrel per brand unless you historically run out of beer.
  • If your brewery has previously run out of beer at the festival, you may request additional kegs by emailing Chris Williams at williams@brewersassociation.org by July 26.

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My brewery Is not a Microstar client, can we still sign up for the Microstar program?

Yes! No need to be a client, you can still sign up to receive MicroStar kegs at additional cost to you. You’ll do this during festival registration (July 16 – 25).

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Do MicroStar kegs need to be cleaned before filling?

Yes, it is recommended that all brewers clean these kegs before filling. Kegs are pickled and passivated before being shipped out, but kegs should be cleaned to remove any remaining residue.

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We want to send our own kegs to the festival, how do we get them back?

We highly recommend you use the Microstar program, but if for some reason this is completely impossible and you need to send your own kegs, you can do so but will need to make sure you take your kegs with you after the festival.

Any kegs that are returned to the Brewers Association after GABF can be shipped back to breweries at the brewery’s expense.

Breweries must set up a return shipment, or provide a shipping account number (UPS or FedEx) to have their kegs returned.

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How many tickets/badges does my brewery get to the Festival?

  • Breweries with a Booth at the festival = Four (4) complimentary brewery rep badges (add’l badges available for purchase at $185 each)
  • Meet the Brewer Booth= Seven (7) complimentary brewery rep badges (add’l badges available for purchase at $185 each)
  • Competition only/No booth at the festival = Zero (0) complimentary brewery rep badges. Badges available for purchase $385 each.”

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What can I pour at the Festival?

  • All beverages poured at your festival booth must possess the characteristics generally attributed to and conforming to the consumer understanding of “beer”.
  • Mead, cider, spirits, hard soda, hard water, and flavored malt beverages including kombucha and most shandies and radlers are not eligible to be poured at GABF.

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