Numero 49/2023

5 Dicembre 2023

America craft beer goes for gold – and gets it – at international beer competitions

America craft beer goes for gold – and gets it – at international beer competitions

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The Brewers Association’s Export Development Programme (EDP) is excited to announce the global success of its American craft brewery members in three prestigious international beer competitions – the Brussels Beer Challenge, European Beer Star Awards and the Japan International Beer Cup.

Brussels Beer Challenge

The 12th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge took place in Turnhout, Belgium over three days at the end of October 2023 and attracted 1,811 beers from 37 countries judged by 92 independent beer experts.  Participating beers were subdivided into categories based on origin, typology and style, and then tasted.

Congratulations to the EDP members who were awarded 33 medals in total, eight more than last year. Medals comprised: nine gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze including Breakside Brewery’s ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ Imperial Stout aged in Apple Brandy Bourbon & Rye Whisky Barrels which was voted ‘Best American Beer of the Competition.’

European Beer Star

One of the most recognized beer competitions in the world, the European Beer Star Awards, is committed to the traditional European art of brewing. It recognizes high quality, authentic beers that are genuine and distinctive, and is limited to beer categories that originate in Europe.

This year’s competition took place for the 20th occasion in September 2023 in Nuremburg, Germany and attracted 2,355 entries in 74 categories which were judged by 149 beer experts from 31 countries.  Of these entries, 64.5% were international and 35.5% domestic.  Congratulations to the EDP member breweries who won 24 medals in total including nine gold, eight silver and eight bronze.

View winners to both Brussels Beer Challenge and European Beer Star here

Japan International Beer Cup

Hosted by Japan’s Craft Beer Association, the International Beer Cup is Japan’s largest international beer competition and was established in 1996.  It provides a valuable opportunity for members of the EDP to compete and gain awareness in a leading export market for American craft beer.  This year’s competition received 1,215 entries from 296 breweries across 17 countries.  Judging took place in Kanazawa City over three days at the end of September.

Congratulations to the American craft brewers who won 36 medals in the 2023 competition, including 14 gold, 12 silver, and ten bronze. Notably, both Bierkraft’s Grodziskie and Brick West Brewing’s Festbier were recognized as Category Champion Winners in their respective categories.  View winners here

Ben Edmunds, brewmaster at Breakside Brewery in Portland, OR, comments: “We were thrilled to learn that ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ had been named Best American Beer at Brussels Beer Challenge, in addition to snagging a gold medal in its category. This win is a wonderful reward. I know European competitions are extremely competitive events where the judge panels have different sensibilities to our peers and customers in the US. The diversity of entries is inspiring, and it is exciting to know that our beers are being evaluated side-by-side with many of the most iconic beers from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. It is a great opportunity for us to get feedback from an expert audience with a distinctive perspective on world beers.”

Lotte Peplow, Brewers Association American craft beer ambassador for Europe, adds: “The success of American craft beer at prestigious global beer competitions is testimony to the skill, creativity and all-round excellence of America’s small and independent craft breweries who continue to lead the field in quality, consistency, innovation and style-diversity.  Garnering 93 medals in total across three highly competitive international competitions is no mean feat and I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them.”

Success at international beer competitions helps raise awareness for American craft beer abroad and assists EDP member breweries with generating publicity for their brands in overseas markets.   As part of its programming, the EDP helps facilitate U.S. brewery participation and performance in select competitions by covering entry fees and consolidated airfreight shipment to judging sites.

Congratulations to all the award-winning breweries.


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Lotte Peplow
Info autore

Lotte Peplow

Lotte Peplow is a Certified Cicerone, accredited Beer Sommelier, international beer judge, beer writer, author, host of talks and tastings about American craft beer, event/festival organiser and keen advocate of beer and food pairing. In August 2022 she co-authored her first book ‘World’s Greatest Beers’ published by CAMRA in the UK. In 2022 Lotte was recognised by the Belgian brewer guild (Knighthood of the Brewer’s Paddle) for services to the beer industry and was knighted as an honourary member. Lotte works for the Brewers Association, a trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, and in 2019 was awarded the title of American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe. Her role is to identify opportunities for international expansion of American craft beer and to raise awareness about the quality and diversity of beer styles from America’s small and independent craft brewers. Based in London, UK, Lotte is also a member of CAMRA’s London tasting panel.