2011 Great American Beer Festival® Media Advisory

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Sept. 29-Oct. 1: The Great American Beer Festival® Toasts 30 Years as North America’s Greatest Beer Celebration Beer Lovers, Food Lovers, Fun Lovers and Brewers to Attend Brewers Association Festival in Denver, CO


The 30th edition of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The premier U.S. beer festival and competition is expected to serve 2,400 different beers, in one-ounce tasting portions, from an estimated 465 U.S. breweries to the event’s 49,000-plus attendees. The entire event sold out in just one week.


Thursday, September 29: 5:30 pm-10:00 pm

Friday, September 30: 5:30 pm-10:00 pm

Saturday, September 31: 12:00 pm-4:00 pm (Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members-only session)

Saturday, October 1: 5:30 pm-10:00 pm


Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, Denver, Colorado


The 2011 festival is sold out.


The largest collection of U.S. beer ever served. This is a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and beers that make the U.S. the world’s greatest brewing nation. This event showcases the diverse beers that make craft brewing one of the fastest-growing segments of the beer, wine and spirits industry.




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More than 460 breweries! Chances are a brewery in your state or region is participating. A full list of registered breweries is posted on GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com.

vintageGABFCelebrating 30 Years

The Great American Beer Festival has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1982 as an offshoot of the 4th Annual National Homebrew and Microbrewery Conference. Nevertheless, if the name is any indication, its aspirations were great, and over 30 years, the event has grown from 800 attendees to 49,000, and from a 5,000 square foot festival hall to one close to 300,000 square feet.

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New for 2011

A special pavilion taking attendees back 30 years to the first Great American Beer Festival, complete with photos, a representation of the beers and breweries from the 1982 event, fun facts, a photo booth, 80’s music and costumes and more! The Farm to Table Pavilion features pairings from an all-new slate of chefs and craft brewers. Adam Dulye of Monk’s Kettle assembled the diverse roster of beer-loving chefs, which includes some of the individuals recognized by Food and Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs of 2010.” All are committed to the Farm to Table philosophy, sourcing the best ingredients at local farmers markets. The members-only Farm to Table ticket includes four-ounce pours, small plates of a variety of fresh and local food items selected to pair with craft beers. Additional ticket required. SOLD OUT. All new presentations in the Beer & Food Pavilion and Brewers Studio. A few highlights include: Sweet and Smokey Chicago Style Join Top Chef winner and owner/chef of the Girl & the Goat, Stephanie Izard, and Jared Rouben, brewmaster at Goose Island’s Clybourn pub, for a glimpse into their collaborative kitchen-to-kettle brewing process. Stephanie and Jared will share insights on brewing beers to complement food and creating food to complement beers. The Great American Beer & Food Pairing Challenge-The Homebrew Chef The Homebrew Chef, Sean Paxton, cooks up mystery dishes and challenges two brewers to find the perfect beer pairings from one of the 2,400 beers at the GABF. This fast-paced presentation is sure to delight the senses with amazing food and fantastic beer. Celebrating 30 Years of the GABF Join GABF founder and Brewers Association president Charlie Papazian, as well as Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company, for a look at 30 years of the GABF. They will share stories about the origins of the festival and how things have changed over the last three decades. Beers from both breweries will be served along with a special “birthday” cake. The U.S.-Italy Craft Beer Connection Join Lorenza Dabove, the Italian beer expert and champion of craft beer, as he teams up with American brewers Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Eric Wallace of Left Hand Brewing Co. to talk about the impact of the American craft beer scene on Italian beer culture.

Sustainability Initiatives

By partnering with ZeroHero and others, the GABF’s goal is to recycle or compost 70 percent of waste produced at the event. Compost will be processed by A1 Organics located in Platteville, Colo. Within 90 days of the festival this compost will become a rich soil amendment. House lights will be kept at 50 percent during the festival. Bottles used in the competition are recycled and beer in the hall is served in reusable drinkware from kegs or recyclable bottles to reduce the event’s footprint. Flatware and utensils used in concession areas and presentations are recyclable or compostable. Educational and interactive area showcasing sustainability initiatives within the brewing industry and at GABF, including calls to action for attendees to support the efforts. Learn more: GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com/about/sustainability.

GABF Competition

In 2011, an estimated 4,000 beers will be judged by 170+ judges hailing from across the globe. New competition categories include:

Fruit Wheat Beer-The soft sweetness of a wheat beer is taken to a new level when combined with the complex flavors of fruit, such as raspberries, blueberries and more. Chocolate Beer-Once part of the Herb and Spice Beer category, this bold, flavorful beer is a delight for beer and chocolate lovers alike. American-Style Brett Ale-These tart beers are increasingly found in many craft brewers’ line-ups, giving beer enthusiasts a funky, complex beer that challenges perception of how beer can taste as the result of a wild yeast known as brettanomyces. International-Style Pale Ale-Distinguishing themselves from American- and English-varieties, these beers have a wide range of hop characters, good balance and moderate alcohol, making them great session beers. In 2011, the top style by number of entrants is American‐Style India Pale Ale (175 entries), and this category has been the top entered at GABF since 2001.

Business Angle

In 2010, beer sales totaled $101 billion (Brewers Association). The number of U.S. breweries is at its highest level (1,790) since before Prohibition.

Craft Brewer Success

America’s craft brewers continue to gain in sales and popularity. Passion and exploration continue to grow as America’s beer drinkers enjoy unrivaled quality and diversity of craft brewed beer. The craft brewing industry (small and independent) grew 14 percent by volume and 15 percent by dollars in the first half of 2011, and that growth appears to be accelerating. Of the 1,790 breweries in the U.S., 1,740 are considered craft brewers.

Beer & Food

Last year, the National Restaurant Association Chef Survey (PDF) found beer and food pairings to be the number five alcohol and cocktails trend to watch. Zagat has also noted the groundswell of support for beer-centric restaurants, naming beer as a top-five dining trend in 2011. They note that, “Beer + food = so hot right now.” The Farm to Table Pavilion is returning for a third year as one of GABF’s most innovative features and one of the best ways to explore food and craft beer pairings. Participating breweries will serve craft beers not available in the festival hall, but even outside of Farm to Table, attendees can enjoy demonstrations and discussions at the Beer & Food Pavilion. This area provides festival-goers the opportunity to taste the best that food and beer pairings have to offer, by featuring well-known chefs and craft brewers who provide insight on the creative process.

More Information Please consult our 2006- 2011 GABF Statistics.

2011 Festival Sponsors

(As of 8/29/11)

Official Sponsors

DRAFT Magazine, Microstar Keg Management, KBCO 97.3, 103.5 The FOX, AM760, CraftBeer.com

Associate Sponsors

Highland Tap and Burger, O-I, Snyder’s of Hanover, TurboTap USA, WAHL ‘Let It Grow Tour’, Westword

Featured Brewery Sponsors

Alaskan Brewing Co., Anchor Brewing Company, Backcountry Brewery, BJ’s Brewery & Restaurants, Black Star (Great Northern Brewing Co.), Blue Moon, Boulder Beer, Boulevard Brewing Co., Brewery Ommegang, Budweiser, Cigar City, Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Genesee Brewing Company, Great Divide Brewing Co., Great Lakes Brewing Co., Kentucky Ale, Leinenkugel’s, New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewing Co., Pyramid Breweries, Samuel Adams, Shock Top, Short’s Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Victory Brewing Company.

Local/Industry Level Sponsors

Ball Corporation, Beer Clothing Company, LLC, Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado, Beer Meister, BottleHood, Brew Caddy, The Brew Dogs of Colorado, Brewers Supply Group, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Cheeky Monk, Cicerone Certification Program, Colorado State University: Beverage Business Institute, Columbine Label Company, Inc., The Country Malt Group, Crazy Shirts, CTI (Chromatic Technologies, Inc.), Davidsons Liquors, Deal Pepper, Ecosyte.ms Consulting, Falling Rock Tap House, Graphic 22, Hopunion LLC, Innovative Labeling Solutions, KeyKeg (Scholle Packaging), Microbrew Water, Midwest Supplies, Muntons Malted Ingredients, Northern Brewer, PartyPons, Rehrig Pacific Company, SportsFans.org, STARR (Brown Manufacuring Company), Verallia, White Labs, Wyeast Laboratories, Yard House Restaurants. Contact

Barbara Fusco, Marketing Director

303.447.0816 x152, barbara@brewersassociation.org


The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience and American Craft Beer Week. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and its Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association. Follow us on Twitter.