FAQ: Attendees

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2019 Great American Beer FestivalThe Great American Beer Festival is the premier U.S. beer festival and competition.

Each year, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served, in a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and diverse beers that make the U.S. the world’s greatest brewing nation.

GABF was founded in 1982, and has been growing and evolving along with the American craft brewing industry ever since.


What are the future dates for the Great American Beer Festival?

Save these dates:

  • 2022: October 6-8
  • 2023: September 21-23

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Where is the festival?

The festival will return to the Colorado Convention Center in 2022.

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What’s the history of the Great American Beer Festival?

  • The first festival was held in 1982 at the Harvest House Hotel in Boulder. There were 24 breweries, 47 beers, and 800 attendees.
  • The festival moved to Denver in 1984.
  • The 10th festival was held at the Denver Merchandise Mart with 150 breweries, 500 beers, and 7,000 attendees.
  • Due to continued growth and popularity and the fact that the iconic Currigan Hall was being dismantled, the festival moved from Currigan Hall in Denver to the Colorado Convention Center in 2000.
  • Demand for tickets is at an all-time high. The 2007 festival sold out the week of the event, while the 2014 event sold out in just over four hours.

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What is the Great American Beer Festival?

In a typical, non-pandemic year, the Great American Beer Festival is the American brewing industry’s top public tasting opportunity and competition. Tasting sessions offer attendees the opportunity to tour America’s brewing landscape, one ounce at a time, with access to more than 4,000 different beers from over 800 of the nation’s finest breweries. The GABF gathers practically every type of beer from all of the regions of the country, and are arranged alphabetically in the festival hall. The festival allows visitors to taste the largest number and the widest variety of hand-crafted products in the American beer industry. We look forward to celebrating our 40th anniversary in person October 6-8, 2022.

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Who puts on the Great American Beer Festival?

The Great American Beer Festival has been held every year since 1982 and is presented by the Brewers Association, a not-for-profit educational and trade organization that is devoted to making quality brewing and beer information available to anyone. The Brewers Association also promotes and protects American craft beer, American craft brewers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association serves craft brewers and homebrewers and produces bi-monthly magazines and books about the brewing industry.

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How much are tickets?

Pricing information for the 2022 GABF will be posted to the Tickets page.

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Why is the 2021 Great American Beer Festival not taking place?

The health and safety of our attendees, brewers, volunteers, judges, and employees is and always has been our top priority. As the world is still greatly affected by the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to be affected for the foreseeable future, we must stay true to our priorities. Read the announcement here.

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When is the 2021 GABF Competition Awards Ceremony Livestream?

On September 10, 2021, watch the GABF Competition Awards Ceremony live stream. Learn more.

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 GABF Official Numbers

2021 2020* 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Attendance n/a n/a 60,000 62,000 60,000 60,000 60,000 49,000 49,000 49,000 49,000 49,000
Breweries at the Festival n/a 1,100* 800 800 800 780 750 710 624 578 466 455
Beers at the Festival n/a n/a 4,000 4,000 3,900 3,800 3,800 3,500 3,142 2,774 2,375 2,248
Breweries in the Competition 2,192 1,720 2,295 2,404 2,217 1,752 1,552 1,309 732 673 522 516
Beers in the Competition 9,680 8,806 9,497 8,496 7,923 7,227 6,647 5,507 4,809 4,338 3,930 3,523
Categories Judged 97 91

107

+ Pro-Am

+ 70 Collaboration

102

+ Pro-Am

+ Collaboration

98

+ Pro-Am

96

+ Pro-Am

92

+ Pro-Am

90

+ Pro-Am

84

+ Pro-Am

84

+ Pro-Am

83

+ Pro-Am

79

+ Pro-Am

Number of Judges 170 115 322 293 276 264 242 222 201 185 167 151
Avg. Number of Beers in each Category 99.6 97 88 83 81 75 72 61 51 51 48 42
Category with Highest Entries Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale: 427 Juicy or Hazy IPA: 377 Juicy or Hazy IPA: 348 Juicy or Hazy IPA: 391 American-Style India Pale Ale: 408 American-Style India Pale Ale: 312 American-Style India Pale Ale: 336 American-Style India Pale Ale: 279 American-Style India Pale Ale: 252 American-Style India Pale Ale: 203 American-Style India Pale Ale: 176 American-Style India Pale Ale: 150
Medals Awarded 290 272 318 306 293 286 275 + 3 in Pro-Am 268 + 3 in Pro-Am 252 + 3 in Pro-Am 251 + 3 in Pro-Am 248 + 3 in Pro-Am 236 + 3 in Pro-Am
Volunteers 118 72 4,280 4,393 4,308 3,732 3,400 3,300 3,245 3,023 3,411 3,281
Volunteer Hours Worked 4,131 3,105 63,623 68,596  66,854 57,681 55,188 47,214 41,919 54,515 52,075 43,679

*The 2020 Festival was virtual and participating breweries offered beery deals through a nationwide passport program.

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