FAQ: Attendees

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.

Due to the global health pandemic, the 2020 festival will look different as it moves online. Learn more here.


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

Save these dates:

  • 2020: October 16-17
  • 2021: October 7-9
  • 2022: October 6-8
  • 2023: September 21-23

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Where is the festival?

This year, the Festival comes to you both virtually and locally through a nationwide “passport” program.

Between October 1-18, Great American Beer Festival passport holders will have exclusive access to beery deals at participating festival breweries nationwide and access to exclusive online content during the GABF virtual programming, October 16-17. Online content will include interactive events such as Brewers Studio happy hours, tastings, and interviews with brewers from around the country.

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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. Due to the global health pandemic, the 2020 festival will look different as it moves online. Learn more here.

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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?

This year, your “ticket” is a digital GABF Festival Passport. See the tickets page for pricing information.

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Where can I buy my GABF Festival Passport?

Festival Passports are exclusively for sale on our website and will be emailed to attendees September 24.

With the purchase of the GABF Festival Passport, the holder acknowledges that participants must be of legal age to consume alcoholic beverages in the United States and agrees to the Festival Passport Terms of Service listed on our site.

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What do I get for the price of my GABF Festival Passport?

The $20 digital GABF Festival Passport includes:

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Does the GABF Festival Passport include a shipment of beer?

Unlike other virtual beer festivals, the GABF Festival Passport is a digital savings book. It will feature savings from participating breweries and does not involve shipping any product.

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When will I get my GABF Festival Passport?

Virtual Festival Passport will be emailed to attendees September 24.

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Will there be 2020 GABF merchandise for sale?

Yes! Through August 13, preorder your 2020 GABF commemorative tee for $35. Available in unisex and ladies fit. Price includes standard shipping within U.S.

Available by pre-order only

  • August 13: T-shirt order deadline
  • September 24: Shirts start shipping

Your purchase supports the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit organization that produces the festival and champions the craft breweries you love.

Purchase the Festival Experience (Passport + T-Shirt) for $49  and save.

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What does the GABF Commemorative t-shirt look like?

T-shirts are available in two styles and colors: unisex (vintage royal blue) and ladies fit (smoke grey). The front of the shirt features the GABF logo and text along with “Brewnited”—this year’s theme. The back of shirt, near the nape, includes the GABF logo along with Special Edition Oct. 16-17, 2020.

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When will t-shirts ship?

T-shirts will start shipping via USPS standard mail on September 24, 2020.

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How does the GABF Commemorative t-shirt fit?

Check out the measurements below (in inches) for the unisex shirt and ladies shirt.

UNISEX, INCHES XS S M L XL 2XL 3XL
Body Length 26.5 27.5 28.5 29.5 30.5 31.5 32.5
Body Width 17.5 19 20.5 22 23.5 25 26.5
LADIES FIT, INCHES XS S M L XL 2XL
Body Length 25 26 27 28 29 30
Body Width 15.5 16.5 17.5 18.5 19.5 20.5
Sleeve Length 4.75 5.125 5.5 5.875 6.25 6.625

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What is your return policy on t-shirts?

T-shirts are made to order and all sales are final. No exchanges, refunds, or returns.

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Will there be a collectible tasting glass?

Yes, learn more about the 2020 Great American Beer Festival will 16 oz Commemorative Glass.

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Are there any promotions available to members?

From June 26-July 10, American Homebrewers Associaton (AHA) members get $5 off the purchase of a GABF Festival Passport+T-Shirt with an exclusive promo code. The code was emailed to members on June 26 and can be found in the AHA Member Profile.

Join the American Homebrewers Association by July 10 and find your promotional code in your account profile after you join.

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What and when are the sessions?

During the virtual festival, October 16-17, GABF Festival Passport holders will have access to exclusive online content including Brewers Studio happy hours, tastings and interviews with brewers from around the country. Details will be published mid-August.

Date Times Session
Friday, October 16 5:00 p.m. MT – 6:50 p.m. MT GABF Competition Awards Ceremony
Friday, October 16 6:50 p.m. MT – 10:00 p.m. MT Five unique sessions with sponsored breaks
Saturday, October 17 5:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. MT Five unique sessions with sponsored breaks
Saturday, October 17 9:15 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. MT GABF Closing Ceremonies

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Why is the 2020 Great American Beer Festival virtual?

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 and pursue other ways to host GABF. Read the announcement here.

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 GABF Official Numbers

2020* 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Attendance 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 1,100 800 800 800 780 750 710 624 578 466 455
Beers at the Festival 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 1,720 2,295 2,404 2,217 1,752 1,552 1,309 732 673 522 516
Beers in the Competition 8,806 9,497 8,496 7,923 7,227 6,647 5,507 4,809 4,338 3,930 3,523
Categories Judged 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 115 322 293 276 264 242 222 201 185 167 151
Avg. Number of Beers in each Category 97 88 83 81 75 72 61 51 51 48 42
Category with Highest Entries 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 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 72 4,280 4,393 4,308 3,732 3,400 3,300 3,245 3,023 3,411 3,281
Volunteer Hours Worked 3,105 63,623 68,596  66,854 57,681 55,188 47,214 41,919 54,515 52,075 43,679

*2020 Festival was virtual

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