FAQ: Breweries

General Registration Questions


When can I sign up to participate at GABF?

Registration for ALL breweries is open June 8 – June 22, 2021, 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 8 – June 22, 2021. Only breweries who meet both beer & brewery eligibility requirements may register (see Eligibility info in FAQ below or the “Competition Eligibility” page.

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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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Is my brewery eligible to enter the competition?

Breweries must meet ALL THREE of the following conditions at the time of registration. 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. 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.

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Can I get a refund?

A full refund is given only in the event that your brewery cancels by July 16. No refunds will be given for any cancellations 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?

The company admin person for your brewery’s BA Membership is able to log into the company account at BrewersAssociation.org to view this information. If you are not the admin or do not know who your company admin person is, please request this from our member services team by emailing info@nullbrewersassociation.org or by calling 303-447-0816 ext. 2.

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

The company admin person for your brewery’s BA Membership is able to log into the company account at BrewersAssociation.org to view this information. If you are not the admin or do not know who your company admin person is, please request this from our member services team by emailing info@nullbrewersassociation.org or by calling 303-447-0816 ext. 2.

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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”.


  • 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 2019 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 but is not allowed to promote the win.

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How many beers can my brewery enter into the competition?

Each brewery is expected to be allowed to enter up to a maximum of 5 beers into the competition, based on availability (in other words, this could increase or decrease, based on the interest we have in the competition).

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 total 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

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?

New this year, breweries will enter their beer information directly after they complete their application, during the June 8 – June 22 window.

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

To view your competition entries and receive your competition bottle and shipping labels, click the button below and log in with your brewery 4-digit ID and email address. You will also be able to make entry changes to your existing info. Changes will be accepted until July 16, based on category availability (the system will notify you if you try to enter a category that is full/closed)

GABF Brewer Login

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

That depends on the category, as some categories are full and can no longer accept new entries. To attempt the change, log in using the button below, along with your 4-digit GABF Brewery ID and your associated email address (deadline July 16 – no changes accepted after this date).

GABF Brewer Login

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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?

Learn more about the competition.

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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: individually register each location (i.e. submit an application for each location that is competing), but opt to have them “compete as a group” during registration. Each location enters a selection of beers, and 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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For the Brewery Group Brewery of the Year Category:If a brewery enters more beers because they have more locations, doesn’t that mean they have a way better chance of winning Brewery of the Year?

Nope, read closely: the winner for the “Brewery Group” Brewery of the Year category is winners are 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 or brewery group. This is different from the single-location Brewery of the Year groups, where winners are determined by total number of winning points.

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 may be found at the login below. To ensure accuracy in sorting and judging, please only use these labels.

GABF Brewer Login

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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 and be sure to review all labeling info here.

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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. More information here

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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”).

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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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Is there a Fresh Hop category this year?

For 2021, due to the unique, relatively early timing of the competition, the GABF Fresh Hop Category judging will be held at a later date. This later timing will allow for hop harvest and beer production, and as a way to still include Fresh Hop Beers in this prestigious competition. Because of the delayed timing, Fresh Hop medals will not count towards Brewery of the Year awards nor a breweries entry cap count (i.e. breweries will be able to a max of 3 Fresh Hop beer in addition to all other competition entries – cap subject to change).

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