World Beer Cup

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Beer World Cup logo WBC-logo.svg
Beer World Cup logo

The World Beer Cup is an international beer competition organized by the Brewers Association, a trade group representing America's small and independent craft brewers. [1] It is the largest competition in the beer industry [2] and has been described as "the Olympics of beer." [3] [4] According to, "Winning a World Beer Cup is like winning a Grammy or an Oscar…it brings the world’s attention to even the smallest brewery’s doorstep…and like a hit song or film, it can make a career." [4] The cup was founded by Association of Brewers president Charlie Papazian in 1996 and is awarded every two years. [5] The competition is held in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America. [2]


Competition and judging

According to the World Beer Cup, "all entries must be commercially available, fermented malt beverages, conforming to the trade understanding of “beer”, brewed by a permitted commercial brewery. “Commercially available” means available for sale at retail at the time of registration." [6] For the 2016 World Beer Cup, the entry fee was $160 per beer, in addition to a $160 application fee. [6]

Awards are given in more than 100 categories. Up to three awards - gold, silver, and bronze - may be awarded in any category, but sometimes not all three awards are given, depending on how the judges evaluate the entires. If they determine that no beer qualifies for a gold award, they may give out just silver and bronze medals. They may even give no awards at all, if all the entries are determined to be unsuited to the style of that category or to be unworthy of an award. [7]

Recent World Beer Cup events

In 2016 there were 6,596 beers from 1,907 breweries from 55 countries. Entries were judged by an international panel of 253 judges from 31 countries. [3] In 2018 there were 8,234 beers entered, a 25% increase over the 2016 cup and the largest field in the competition's history, with competitors from 66 countries. [5] There were 295 judges, three-fourths of them from outside the United States. [2]

Brewery awards

Champion Brewery (Very Small)

YearBreweryBrew MasterCityStateCountry
2016Arch Rock Brewing Co.James SmithGold BeachOregonUSA

Champion Brewery (Small)

YearBreweryBrew MasterCityStateCountry
2004Oggi's Pizza and Brewing CompanyTom NickelSan ClementeCaliforniaUSA
2006Brauerei Michael PlankMichael PlankLaaberBavariaGermany
2008Port Brewing Company and Lost AbbeyTomme ArthurSan MarcosCaliforniaUSA
2010Ballast Point Brewing CompanyBallast Point BrewersSan DiegoCaliforniaUSA
2012Brauerei Michael PlankMichael PlankLaaberBavariaGermany
2014Pelican BreweryDarron Welch, Steve PanosPacific CityOregonUSA
2016Noble Ale WorksEvan & The GiantsAnaheimCaliforniaUSA

Champion Brewery (Medium)

YearBreweryBrew MasterCityStateCountry
2004Firestone Walker Fine AlesMatthew BrynildsonPaso RoblesCaliforniaUSA
2006Firestone Walker Fine AlesMatthew BrynildsonPaso RoblesCaliforniaUSA
2008Privatbrauerei HoepfnerPeter BucherKarlsruheBaden-WürttembergGermany
2010Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyMatthew BrynildsonPaso RoblesCaliforniaUSA
2012Firestone Walker Brewing CompanyMatthew BrynildsonPaso RoblesCaliforniaUSA
2014Coronado Brewing CompanyCoronadoCaliforniaUSA
2016Brewery OmmegangBrewery OmmegangCooperstownNew YorkUSA

Champion Brewery (Large)

YearBreweryBrew MasterCityStateCountry
2004Miller Brewing CompanyDr. David S. RyderMilwaukeeWisconsinUSA
2006Miller Brewing CompanyDr. David S. RyderMilwaukeeWisconsinUSA
2008Blue Moon Brewing CompanyWarren QuilliamGoldenColoradoUSA
2010Asia Pacific Breweries LimitedAPB Brewing TeamSingapore
2012AB InBevClaudio FerroLeuvenVlaams-BrabantBelgium
2014Coors Brewing CompanyDr. David RyderGoldenColoradoUSA
2016Miller Brewing Co.Miller Brewing Co. Brewing TeamMilwaukeeWisconsinUSA

Champion Brewpub (Small)

YearBreweryBrew MasterCityStateCountry
2004Laurelwood Pub & BreweryChristian EttingerPortlandOregonUSA
2006Piece BreweryJonathan CutlerChicagoIllinoisUSA
2008Bend Brewing CompanyTonya CornettBendOregonUSA
2010Devils Backbone Brewing CompanyJason OliverRoselandVirginiaUSA
2012Iron Hill Brewery & RestaurantIron Hill Brewery TeamMediaPennsylvaniaUSA
2014Iron Hill Brewery & RestaurantIron Hill Brewery TeamMediaPennsylvaniaUSA
201612Degree BrewingJon Howland & Tor O’BrienLouisvilleColoradoUSA

Champion Brewpub (Large)

YearBreweryBrew MasterCityStateCountry
2004 Russian River Brewing Company Vinnie CilurzoSanta RosaCaliforniaUSA
2006Russian River Brewing CompanyVinnie CilurzoSanta RosaCaliforniaUSA
2010 Iron Hill Brewery Iron Hill Brewery TeamWilmingtonDelawareUSA
2012Pelican Pub & BreweryDarron R S WelchPacific CityOregonUSA
2014Blind Tiger Brewery & RestaurantJohn DeanTopekaKansasUSA
2016Beachwood BBQ & BrewingJulian Shrago, Ian McCall & Gene WagonerLong BeachCaliforniaUSA

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  5. 1 2 Baker, Jess. "2018 World Beer Cup Awards Marks the Largest Yet".
  6. 1 2 "Eligibility & Fees". Brewers Association.
  7. "Award Criteria & Judging",, Brewers Association