American Cider Association Partners With Great American Beer Festival® Competition to Welcome Cider

The American Cider Association (ACA), the national trade organization for the hard cider industry, is thrilled to announce its partnership with the Great American Beer Festival® (GABF®) Competition. This collaboration will see the introduction of cider as a prominent category in the esteemed annual competition, set to take place this October in Denver, Colorado. GABF, organized by the Brewers Association (BA), is the nation’s largest professional beer competition. Its medals are globally acknowledged as an emblem of brewing excellence and among the most sought-after accolades within the brewing community.

The GABF competition started in 1987 and has grown to be one of the largest beer competitions in the world, with over 9,000 individual beers entering each year. In 2023, 9,298 entries spanning 99 beer categories across 175 styles were judged, and 263 breweries were awarded 303 medals.

“The medals are meaningful to the winners due to the competition’s reputation with retailers and wholesalers. This is one of the many reasons that GABF opening its doors to cider is something we’re excited about,” says ACA’s CEO Michelle McGrath. “Although cider is not beer, the two categories have a lot in common–especially routes to market–making collaboration possible and exciting.”

The BA welcomes the ACA partnership by including ACA’s input on styles and judges and extends the BA member competition entry rate to ACA’s cidery-level members. GABF registration opened on June 11, and the ACA cidery-level members can find instructions for submitting their entries in the ACA Resource Hub.

“The Great American Beer Festival competition serves as a platform for the finest beers from across the nation to undergo rigorous scrutiny and vie for the title of ‘Best in Class,’” remarked Chris Williams, competition director for the Great American Beer Festival. “This year, we are pleased to invite the more than 1,300 commercial cider producers to compete for medals in the inaugural cider categories.”

“There is a global ecosystem of cider competitions that provide a range of services to the cider industry, including professional cider education, networking, recognition, and category development,” says McGrath. “We value all the various competitions and are thrilled to welcome GABF into the world of cider competitions.”

The BA sees this as the beginning of developing cider at GABF and hopes to work with the ACA to grow entries and styles in subsequent years.

The consumer-facing festival—the nation’s largest beer festival—also showcases cider and other beverages, and the ACA will be present at the festival this fall.

Learn more about the GABF competition here. ACA members can log into their ACA member accounts starting June 11 and head to the Resource Hub for information on how to get member rate discounts to enter cider in GABF 2024.

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