The World Beer Cup and Going for Two
March 26, 2012
Every two years, the world’s breweries are invited to take part in The World Beer Cup in Chicago. This is the premier beer competition in our industry today. According to organizers, there will be 828 breweries from 57 countries submitting over 4,000 entries in 95 categories. Do the math—it is exceedingly difficult to medal; the best beers will be selected among numerous competitors. We, as usual, will be competing. Starr Hill has won twice at the World Beer Cup; Amber Ale won Bronze in 2002, and Dark Starr Stout won Silver in 2008.
This year we have made a few entries, including our GABF Gold Medal winner Jomo Lager and our Silver Medal winner Monticello Reserve Ale. We would love to see them medal in two competitions in a row! Results will be available on May 5th.
The importance of beer competitions cannot be overlooked. This is an opportunity for us as a brewery to see how we stack up against our peers from around the world. It is also important for the industry in general, as it helps build public awareness of the craft beer movement, and it gets people excited to try the medal winners at home. A fun thing to do is to choose your favorite categories, track down the three medal winners at your LOCAL craft beer outlet, and try them side by side. We in the industry do a similar tasting in sensory panels with blind tastings of your brewery’s beer and your competitors to constantly monitor the quality and presentation. Craft beer customers frequently try multiple brands of beer throughout the year, but few seem to take it to this level. Tasting multiple examples of the same style in one sitting is a great way to train your palate and increase your knowledge of the liquid we love so much. This can also give you a feel for what the 216 judges experience during a competition.
“Great beer is such a gift.” That statement launched a mindset that has driven our brewery since the beginning. Kristin was right: our main focus is quality. We keep that the focus of everything we do every day. Competitions make everyone better. If you do poorly, it makes you reevaluate your process or products. Doing well does not mean you can be complacent either. As brewers we know we are going to make our best beer tomorrow with what we learned today, competition just defines your learning curve. Starr Hill has a history of competing well because we take our company’s mission seriously. The Gift of Great Beer indeed.