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Delaware wins the 2013 Great American Beer Festival

Jeremy Short · Oct. 22

 

Maybe you've seen some of the medal counts floating around about the Great American Beer Festival? You know the ones that show that California and Colorado dominated with 56 and 46 medals respectively. Third place went to Oregon with a distant count of 25 medals. Wow, California and Colorado rock, right?

Did you also know that of the 654 breweries at GABF 230 of them came from California and Colorado? These two states alone represented 36% of the breweries at the festival. Impressive. This isn't totally surprising since according to the Brewers Association California has far and away the most breweries at 325 and Colorado comes in third with 154 (these numbers are from 2012 which in today’s beer world means it’s completely out-of-date but it still gives a sense of scale). It's also not surprising that the festival is in Colorado and the cost for a brewery (small or large) is minimal for breweries in Colorado to attend. There's relatively little investment to get a booth at the festival and give your beers a shot at gold. But if you're a brewery in say Vermont the cost of shipping out beer, getting hotel rooms, paying for food and travel etc... well you better be bringing the good beer if you want to drop that dough.

With that many breweries at GABF it's a given that California and Colorado dominate the competition in medals counts, but how do they do when you look at the ratio of breweries to medals won? Well, they drop down to 13th and 14th place respectively. And the states that bring the highest quality of beer per brewery? Here's your top ten:

State

Delaware

Breweries    

3

Medals

3

Virginia

15

14

New Mexico

10

8

Utah

7

5

Oregon

36

25

Minnesota

6

4

Missouri

11

7

Wisconsin

8

5

Pennsylvania    

22

12

There you go. Delaware is the king! Crazy, right? And according to those same BA numbers from 2012 there are only 10 breweries in the state. What's most remarkable about Delaware is that each of the three breweries at the festival won a medal: Dogfish Head, Iron Hill, and Stewart's. Both Dogfish Head and Iron Hill are old GABF stalwarts with medals going back to 1997 for Iron Hill. Personally, Iron Hill has been a long time favorite of mine to visit at the festival--you can't go wrong with their selection. I would say the same about Dogfish Head, but the line is always too long causing me to typically skip their booth. The rest of the top ten is pretty impressive. Especially Virginia and Devils Backbone bringing six medals to the state. I am sad to say I didn't try any of their beers and feel I missed out on something good there.

As a Colorado native and Colorado beer lover I was also interested to see how the breweries in Colorado performed individually. Here are the six breweries in Colorado who won more than one medal (a total of 28 Colorado Breweries one at least one medal):

CraftWorks Restaurants

5

Dry Dock Brewing Co.

5

MillerCoors

5

Left Hand Brewing Co.

3

Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.  

2

City Star Brewing

2

I've never been to Cannonball Creek or City Star before--I need to make sure to get to these places sometime soon. 29 out of 115 Colorado breweries went home with medals. Colorado also won two Pro-Am medals. And as a Colorado homebrewer I am going to say (without applying any of the logic above) that Colorado has the best homebrewers in the nation. I have no empirical evidence to prove that thought but it just feels right. 

NB From the list above. CraftWorks is the corporate entity that owns Rock Bottom and Gordon Biersch. All of their beers this year were entered as Colorado beers even though some of these brews are from out of state. I combined both Dry Dock breweries into a single count. To stay consistent with my rolling up I also rolled up this group. MillerCoors owns Blue Moon, AC Golden, and the Sandlot. All of which make outstanding beers regardless of who owns them.



 

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