It Was a Good World Beer Cup for Pacific Northwest Breweries

Plus some other takeaways from this year's awards

World Beer Cup winners
At the World Beer Cup, happiness and hoppiness can go hand in hand.
Brewers Alliance

This year’s World Beer Cup has reached its conclusion, and a host of breweries from all over the world have been feted by their peers for their hard work and exquisitely crafted beers. It’s difficult to make any generalizations about a competition in which the judges made their way through 9,300 entries representing 172 styles; that is, after all, a lot of beer. But it does seem safe to say that the craft breweries of the Pacific Northwest did pretty well for themselves during the competition.

Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery took home three gold medals and one silver, while fellow Oregonians 10 Barrel Brewing Company returned home from Las Vegas with two gold medals, plus one silver and one bronze. In the case of the German-Style Sour Ale category, all three medalists were 10 Barrel entries. Issaquah, Washington’s Formula Brewing also took home a gold, two silver medals and a bronze. (Though they’re not remotely in the Pacific Northwest, I was happy to see that New Jersey’s Kane Brewing Company — based a stone’s throw from my hometown — took home a pair of medals as well.)

The list of winners has a few more notable points in store, too. It’s worth noting that the total number of entries this year is the lowest level since 2018, and the number of breweries represented is at its lowest level since 2016. It’s not clear if that’s reflective of troubles in the craft beer industry or if the World Beer Cup’s 2022 shift from a biannual to an annual schedule making some breweries hesitate to come every year, however.

One number that is up is the number of styles being evaluated. This year’s competition involved 172 styles of beer in 110 categories. By comparison, the 2023 and 2022 editions of the World Beer Cup each featured 103 categories.

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Craft beer drinkers seeking grounds for optimism can also point to another encouraging statistic: 436 of the breweries competing in this year’s World Beer Cup were first-timers. Spirits reporter Dave Infante has been doing tremendous work lately chronicling the dilemmas facing the craft beer industry right now. The statistics from this year’s Cup offer beer fans complicated messages about the state of the industry as well. At least one of those messages shows an industry expanding its scope, though, and that represents some grounds for optimism.


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