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brewing awards/medals

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  • brewing awards/medals

    What is the general perception of winning medals in brewing competitions? What I am trying to say is....Do they mean anything? Which awards are more regarded? Finally, what do think if the brewery "down the street" wins medals. Is it wow thats great or yeah right he just got lucky his beer is not that good? Just something I have been pondering for a while. I am trying to justify entering competitions.


  • #2

    Hi there,
    Just joined the list so i wanted to say hello.
    I live in Sweden and have been importing for
    about 10 years from all over the world, from
    the US about 7 years.
    When it comes to awards, yes they do help but
    it is easy to drown in all competitions.
    There is more brewerys and brands in world
    than ever so it really depends on what award
    an in which competition. To sell a brand a award
    obviously helps, here in Europe InBev still has
    a gold medal award for a competition in 1897!
    on their Stella bottles, thats somewhat
    not helping anyone!


    • #3
      While it is always nice to receive formal recognition for your hard work, the award is usually worth only as much as the paper it's printed on (or medal). The true value comes from what your brewery does with that recognition; i.e. use the award to promote your beer and brewery. I brewed for a micro that won a gold at the GABF in the bock category. The only thing they did with that award was to let it get lost on the bosses cluttered desk. That's my sad story.......

      Glacier Brewing Company

      "who said what now?"


      • #4
        Back in the mid '90s, when IPAs were still not quite the T-Rex they are today, we probably had a real great shot at getting some gold at GABF. However, we just never entered and have always held that even though a medal is nice, 20% in-house sales growth per year is even better!

        Awards are great strokes to the ego but regrettably there's a "Mosquitoe Fest" around every corner that proclaim "Best of Shows" and it would appear that many awards can almost be purchased with the table fee. Several of my colleagues that do not own the Breweries they work in seem to hold the medals in higher regard than I. Maybe it's an arrogant trait on my part, but product sales, customer comments, and being a good colleague in this industry are the barometers of success for Diamond Knot Brewing Co.


        • #5
          oh boy! I have been waiting for this topic! I tend to be a bit opinionated, so here we an owner: " the costs of sending beers to competition, entry fee plus representation is very high, and can you really assign a return on investment?" not really, it does not make sense in regards to ROI.....unless you consider this: Competition makes you work harder, beat the other guy, you want to be the better brewer! Yes, it is very subjective sometimes (always) in judging any event. Yes, stupid beers win medals, yes, the bottom line (I agree Brian) is the sales in the end of the day it is what the paying customer says that counts. But to keep your brewer on his toes, put him up against his peers every year and you will keep your edge. I have heard pros and cons on this subject...if you want an instant ROI, then look elsewhere, if you want long term, put your brewer up against his fellow brewer and reward him when he brings home the bacon! But as with all things, it is only one piece of the puzzle, use it to your advantage. The beauty of a brilliant marketing mind!
          Cheers, Beaux


          • #6
            OK, Since owners have been the only ones to answer at this time, let give some more info....
            Sales have doubled since I have been on board (actually less offpremise accounts)
            Customer comments are generally positive,
            The seasonal beers have been ground breaking in our small and behind the times brewing community
            We have won three medals in the last two years at the GABF with considerable free press afterwards

            Is there any recognition in winning medals from other owners and/or brewers?
            Is there any rewards for winning medals?



            • #7
              Sure, I'll give you an award

              I've managed two different brewery restaurants in the Los Angeles area, and I have found that awards do not change the business sales.

              - Great beer will increase the likeliness of great sales
              - Great beer will increase the likeliness of awards
              - However, awards do not directly translate into great sales

              Yes, my brewers have won awards. It is good to enter competitions just for the spirit of community with our friends other breweries.

              From a guest perspective, we have an uphill struggle just explaining a Pale Ale to an average person. Now try explaining the GABF or State Fair competitions. (Who exactly is tasting these? Are they bottled? Etc.)

              When I talk about awards to other brewers, they mainly snicker. "Oh, you won that award? Yeah, I won something like it twice already."



              • #8
                Here's from an owner/brewer: Take all that money and time you would spent for seeking awards and use it to make better beer. Better beer will always outsell awards, and that reward is guaranteed. I know an owner willing to spend for a few GABF entries, but won't spent $500 for something that will improve beer quality immediately. I would venture that most brewers know whether their beer is well-made and tasty (medal quality)- or not; if they don't, their customers do.


                • #9
                  I've garnered my share of "Best of Show" stuff and medals/ribbons as a homebrewer -- as a professional, I don't feel the need to get peer recognition on that level other than a fellow brewer coming in, sipping one of my brews and letting out a satisfied belch with a "Damn tasty beer, Rob".
                  As others have stated, I'd much prefer to save the money I'd outlay to enter competitions to invest in things that will make my product better.
                  "By man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world" -- St. Arnold of Metz


                  • #10
                    I think certain competitions are worth entering and if you should be lucky enough to win a medal it can be used in a positive fashion. Even if you're not a medal winner sometimes (and I mean sometimes) the judges comments can be helpful.

                    Yes, marketing may get excited and do a big ad campaign, or they may keep quiet and use it to help sales at the distribution level to help enforce the image of the beer/brewery.

                    I have worked for breweries that have always entered competitions with some breweries touting when they win and other breweries giving credit to production employees and a job well done. I prefer the later tactic as I think medals can add "image value" to a brewery but shouldn't be the only focus as it's very unlikely that the medals with continue year after year, just luck of the draw sometimes. In the end medals don't mean you'll sell more beer, the public will decide if they like the taste and hopefully that keeps a brewery in business for years to come.
                    Mike Jordan
                    Boxing Cat Brewery
                    Shanghai, P.R. China