Eaton Marketing - Oct 2, 2019

A Preview of the 2019 Great American Beer Festival

It's that time of year again! So many of America's beer lovers are gathering in Denver, Colorado for the 2019 Great American Beer Festival to see what's new in the world of beer. As representatives of Perlick beer systems and as people who dabble in beer making a bit ourselves, we wanted to lay out a bit of information for any Floridians heading to the event. If you're an operator looking for the next new brew, GABF represents an opportunity to research what the countries best breweries are up to.

The event will be held at the Colorado Convention Center from October 3rd-5th as the crown jewel in the annual Denver Beer Week. With more than 800 breweries showcasing 4,000 different beers, there's surely to be something for everyone.

"We love GABF!" said Steve and Leslie Kaczeus, owners of Bootstrap Brewing in Niwot, Colorado in a recent article in the hometown Denver Post. "It gives us the opportunity to reconnect face-to-face with breweries from across the country that we’ve built fun relationships with."

With four different sessions spread out over three days, GABF will certainly provide those opportunities to connect with like-minded industry professionals. Here's a quick schedule recap of what you can expect at the event:

Thursday, October 3, 5:30 to 10:00 p.m.

Bagpipes serenade the opening night attendees as the high-energy festivities get off to a rousing start. The first Paired + GABF experience of the event sets the tone for collaboration between 25 small and independent breweries and 24 award-winning chefs. Partake in the opportunity to sample up to 50 beers expertly paired with mouthwatering fare.

Friday, October 4, 5:30 to 10:00 p.m.

Pull out all the stops and don your alter ego's costume for a chance to win tickets to the 2020 GABF.

Saturday, October 5, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Enjoy the benefits of membership. Following the award ceremony where more than 300 of the nation's best brews are announced, you'll be the first to sample the beers of this year's medalists.

Saturday, October 5, 5:30 to 10:00 p.m.

The final celebration of the festival provides consummate beer fans with a chance to shake, rattle, and roll as they polish off the kegs of the nation's best brews.

A Note About the GABF Competition

The professional judging panel consists of small groups who sit together to sample unnamed brands in specified categories. They identify the top three beers in each category that best represent that beer's style.

Awards for excellence include bronze, silver, and gold medals. A medal of excellence is "highly coveted by the winning brewers and appropriately incorporated in their national advertising campaigns."

Judges evaluate beers in their particular area of expertise without judging their own product. "Five different three-hour judging sessions" occur throughout the three-day festival.

This year's competition-style categories have increased to 107. The six new classifications include the following:

  • Fresh hop beer
  • India pale lager
  • Franconian-style rotbier
  • Juicy or hazy strong pale ale
  • Emerging IPA
  • Contemporary Belgian-style gueuze lambic

Map It Out

Rather than organizing the thousands of beers alphabetically, this year's system is broken out into regions. Take a look at the map to determine which regions you'd like to focus on. With an exhibition the size of ten football fields, it works to your advantage to have a manageable plan, and this year, if you're looking to sample all of Florida's breweries in one area, you'll again have that opportunity. Last year, the event switched to an organization that moved away from regions, instead opting to arrange breweries in alphabetical order. Back by popular demand, breweries will be arranged in nine different regions.

No matter how you map it out, though, there will be plenty of opportunities to discover that new hidden gem to bring back to your customers, regardless of what styles or trends are hot.

"If you want to stick to classic styles, there is an audience for you," said co-founder and head brewer of Lafayette, Colorado's Liquid Mechanics, Seth Townsend. "If you want to dump birthday cake and food coloring in your beer, there is probably an audience for you, too."

Do you like serving good beer? Want to make it more profitable? Schedule a free bar and beverage assessment with Eaton Marketing, and let us help you raise the bar.

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Written by Eaton Marketing