Festival Participation Guidelines

Click here to download a PDF of the 2016 Brewers Guide to Registering

(PDF Revised from mailed printed version July 28, 2016)

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


Brewers Badge Pickup Schedule

Pickup Process:

  • A valid photo ID is required to pick up any badge.
  • Individuals who’s names have been associated with a specific badge will be allowed to pick up only their one badge.
  • OR the main GABF Contact for the brewery will be allowed to pick up any/all badges for that brewery

Badge Pickup / Brewers Check-in Hours (Get there early…)

*Wednesday/Brewers Gathering

If you have a ticket to the Brewers Gathering, this is printed directly on your badge. You will need to pick up your badge prior to 6pm on Wednesday in order to attend the Brewers Gathering.

**Saturday Badge Pickup Last call @ 8:00 pm

Check-in closes at 8:00pm on Saturday night. Badge not picked up by that time will not be available for pickup after 8pm on Saturday night.

Wednesday, Oct. 5 10:00am – 7:00 pm*
Thursday, Oct. 6 9:30am – 10:00pm
Friday, Oct. 7 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, Oct. 8 10:00 am – 8:00pm**

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2016 Public Tasting Schedule

The four public tasting sessions will take place in the Colorado Convention Center 14th and Champa Streets in downtown Denver, Colorado.

All Brewery/Booth Staff should be at their booth at least 45 minutes before start time (4:45pm for the evening sessions, and 11:45am for Saturday Afternoon)

Brewers Schedule / Hall Access Times (when you can get in to set up your booth)

*Brewers and booth staff should be at their booths 45 minutes before the start of each session

Event Day When Brewers can set up Event Hours
Brewers Gathering Wednesday, Oct. 5 N/A 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
GABF Session Thursday, Oct.6 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
GABF Session Friday, Oct. 7 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Awards Ceremony Saturday, Oct. 8  N/A 10:00am – 1:00pm (doors @ 9:30am)
GABF Members Only Session Saturday, Oct. 8 10:00am – 11:00 pm 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
GABF Session Saturday, Oct.8 10:00am – 11:00 pm 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

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“Meet the Brewer” hall for GABF

Consider the “Meet the Brewer” hall, where festival booths will be staffed ONLY with brewers and brewery owners. Several of our educational pavilions also move to this hall and an additional public entrance to the festival will be located here.

How it works:

  • During the application process (June 21 – 30) breweries must first“opt-in” to the lottery for a festival booth space (only open to BA Member Breweries).
  • Brewers may also “opt-in” to participate in a “Meet the Brewer” booth in the GABF Festival hall. Participation is limited to approx. 120 breweries.
  • DIY Staffing! – Brewery booths in the “Meet the Brewer” hall must be entirely staffed by brewers, brewery owners, and other brewery staff. NO VOLUNTEER POURERS WILL BE PROVIDED. Volunteer captains will be assigned to assist with beer service operations, but volunteer pourers will not be assigned to these booths.
  • Spread out! – Each brewery in this section will receive an 8 ft x 10 ft space (vs. the 6 ft x 10 ft spaces in other areas). Breweries will be arranged alphabetically rather than by geographic region.
  • More Badges – each brewery participating in this portion of the festival will receive an additional 3 complimentary Brewery Representative badges for their staff, for a total of seven complimentary badges (and four more available for purchase, if needed)


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How the Public Tasting Sessions Work

Public Tastings at GABF

All participating breweries are arranged by geographic region throughout the festival hall. Your brewery has a booth space 6 ft. long x 10 ft. deep. If you submit draught beer to the tasting, kegs are tapped at the back of your booth space. Bottles and cans are iced in tubs and placed on a table at the front of your booth. Promotional items and pitchers of water for rinsing tasting glasses are placed on the table. A GABF sign, including the name and location of your brewery and the names of beers you are serving hangs from the 8′ high drape on the back wall of your booth.

Festival attendees receive a tasting glass and a festival program when they enter. Each evening more than 10,000 attendees circulate among the booths tasting various beers. You, your brewery representative, or one of our knowledgeable volunteers will pour one-ounce servings and answer questions.

Participating breweries are expected to staff their booth at all times, as many of the festival attendees want to learn more about your beer. Remember – festival attendees want to learn more about YOUR beer, and meet you!


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Brewery Representatives and Badges

As part of the brewery registration fee, each brewery may designate up to four representatives (depending on the number of beers entered) who may promote and distribute its products at the brewery booth.

Booth at the festival = Four (4) complimentary brewery rep badges
“Meet the Brewer” Booth= Seven (7) complimentary brewery rep badges
No booth at the festival/Competition Only = Zero (0) complimentary brewery rep badges

The Brewers Association is dedicated to presenting GABF beers in a favorable light. Part of this plan is to provide a safe and secure environment. Make sure that your brewery representatives are aware of and adhere to the ONE-OUNCE POUR RULE. Brweries Pouring

Festival breweries (i.e. those with a booth at the festival) may purchase a maximum of four additional brewery representative badges valid for all sessions, based on availability. The cost is $185 per additional pass for Brewers Association members. Additionally purchased badges do not include access to the Brewers Gathering.

Competition-only breweries (i.e. those only participating in the competition) may purchase a maximum of four brewery representative badges valid for all sessions, based on availability. The cost is $300 per additional pass for Brewers Association members, $325 per additional pass for non-members. These badges do not include access to the Brewers Gathering.

Badges are good for all four sessions of the festival. Each badge has the brewery’s name on it and should be used by brewery representatives only. Each badge is good for one person to enter the festival per session.

All badges are the property of the Brewers Association and may be revoked at any time.

All brewery representatives are ID’d and wristbanded each day. Please plan accordingly and allow time to get wristbanded and ID’d onsite before entering the hall. Ages 21+ only.

As part of our mission to educate the consumer about the quality and diversity of beer, the expectation is that breweries will have at least one brewery representative present in their booth at all times during the public sessions. The GABF will continue to staff booths with volunteers who are educated about beer styles and the brewing process to assist brewery representatives.

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Guidelines for Brewery Representatives

All brewery representatives must be 21 years or older and present valid photo ID upon check-in at the festival. No exceptions.

Promotion of your product may only occur within the confines of your booth.

Brewery representatives must maintain sobriety while attending the festival. Any brewery representative deemed intoxicated during the festival shall be subject to ejection.

Brewery representatives must be appropriately clothed during the festival. Appropriate dress is at the sole discretion of the GABF.

Brewery representatives should conduct themselves with appropriate decorum at all times. Activities by a brewery representative that endanger festival attendees, festival staff or festival vendors, or any activity which is contrary to Colorado law may subject the brewery representative or the attending brewery to ejection from the festival at the sole discretion of GABF staff.

Throwing items (i.e., shirts, cups, coasters, etc.) from the booth into the crowd is strictly prohibited.

Coasters are not allowed at the festival. Please do not bring them. “Flying coasters” have posed safety issues at previous events and are now prohibited.

Brewery representatives are encouraged to sample responsibly during the festival. Please adhere to the one-ounce pour rule. back to top

Guidelines for Serving Beer

  • Pour only one ounce of beer into attendees’ glasses. There is a pour line on the glass for your convenience.
  • Please do not serve attendees who appear intoxicated. Alert GABF staff or security personnel if needed.
  • Beer shall be served only from behind the tables in the booth space.

Please make sure all of your brewery representatives adhere to these guidelines. Failure to do so will result in warnings and/or expulsion of your brewery or representatives.

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Sending Kegs / Keg Transportation and MicroStar


Labeling and Shipping your Festival Beers – click here


Sending Your Own Kegs?

The GABF only accepts kegs that are refillable stainless steel or single use plastic. If you have any questions about acceptable kegs at the festival, please email Bradley Latham: bradley@brewersassociation.org.

Looking for ways to save money on shipping?

Breweries may consolidate shipments when sending competition beers. Many breweries are coordinating the shipment of competition beers.This saves time and money! Consider contacting your local guild to discuss the option of palletizing your competition entries, and shipping them together via freight. A list of participating breweries can be found at GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com if you’d like to coordinate with others.

The Microstar Keg Program (Highly Recommended)

Breweries may choose to have Microstar Keg Management ship kegs directly to your brewery to fill with your festival beers (This option is not available for current MicroStar customers, but we urge MicroStar customers to use their own MicroStar kegs to send to the festival). This saves you from having to use your current inventory. If you choose to use the Microstar program, here the details for participating:

  • You 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 instead receive one 1/2 bbl keg per brand)
  • If your brewery has previously run out of beer at the festival, you may request additional kegs by emailing Bradley Latham at Bradley@brewersassociation.org by July 15. This will only affect a very limited number of breweries as past festivals have shown 2 – 1/6 barrel kegs is adequate for 90% of participating breweries.
  • 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 ½ barrel per brand unless you historically run out of beer.

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Draught Beer Tapping Options

The Great American Beer Festival ices, taps and pressurizes all draught beers sent in Sankey kegs. The majority of breweries take advantage of our tapping service. If you choose to tap the beers yourself, please provide all equipment necessary (faucets, taps, lines, CO2, etc.). The GABF provides keg containers and ice.

All beer entered in the festival must be delivered to the GABF host distributor for legal and inventory purposes. Festival beer received by the host distributor becomes the property of the host distributor for GABF and may not be used for any other purpose such as selling at retail.

The GABF only accepts kegs in stainless steel or single use plastic kegs. Kegged beer sent in any other format will not be served at the festival. The festival is not able to accommodate any Hoff-Stevens, Golden Gate, Cornelius kegs.

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Displays and Promotional Materials

  • Each brewery or brewing company is provided a 6 ft. table (6’ wide X 24” deep X 30” high) with an 8 ft. high drape located directly behind the table for brewery displays.
  • All wall displays must be less than 6 ft. long x 4 ft. high. (so as to not obstruct the kegs/draught equipment at the back of the booth)
  • No display may be higher than 15 ft from the ground.
  • The GABF is intended to educate consumers about the quality and diversity of beer in the U.S. The GABF may, at its sole discretion, request and/or require the removal of any inappropriate display.
  • Brewery displays may not restrict the flow of traffic behind the booth.
  • Tents that encroach on your neighbor’s space are not allowed. Tents that stay in your designated area (6 ft wide) are allowed.
  • The GABF is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Complimentary promotional items may be distributed to attendees. However, please note that the cost of removing brewery labels and stickers found on Colorado Convention Center windows, mirrors or other surfaces will be charged directly to the brewery.
  • Promotional items may not be thrown from your booth.
  • Signs requiring electricity are only allowed at end cap (sponsor) booths.

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Festival Flair Award

The GABF invites all breweries to decorate their booth and win a prize for the brewery booth with the most festival flair. We ask breweries to turn on their festive spirit and craft the most creative booth in the festival hall. The booth with most the festival flair is awarded a plaque at the awards ceremony and a certificate for five complimentary entries for the 2015 GABF. There is an award for best end-cap booth and best in-line booth. Breweries must bring all of their items to decorate and cannot ship to the convention center or with their festival beers. We suggest shipping your decorations to your hotel room or bringing them by car.

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Designated Driver Booth and Volunteers

Each year, designated drivers have the ability to enjoy some non-alcoholic craft brewed products. If your brewery makes non-alcoholic root beers or sodas, we would appreciate your donation to the designated driver lounge. Email Chris Williams at williams@brewersassociation.org to donate non-alcoholic beverages.

Did you know that the GABF is home to over 2,000 volunteers who devote countless hours to helping make this festival run? We like to reward these hard working volunteers with a sampling of beers from across the country. If you would like to donate some extra bottled beer for the volunteers, please email Chris Williams at williams@brewersassociation.org and send this extra beer with your festival beers at your drop off point. Clearly label this as “Volunteer Beer.”

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The GABF Program

GABF AdvertisingAttendees receive an official GABF program containing information about the festival as well as your brewery information. Your information includes: brewery name, city, state, website, booth number, and your beers at the festival. If your brewery is 25% or more owned by another brewery, that information is also be listed in the program.

It will also identify Brewers Association members as either a:

  • Voting member of the Brewers Association
  • Associate member – all other brewery members

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