Then and Now

Then and Now

The Great American Beer Festival got its start 36 years ago as just a part of the American Homebrewers Association‘s fourth annual conference. If the name is any indication, however, founder Charlie Papazian had grander ambitions for this remarkable event.

Peruse a copy of the 1982 Program (pdf)—complete with Charlie’s handwritten notes in the margins!

Great American Beer Festival Then and Now

1982 2016
Hours of Tasting 5 over 1 session 17.5 over 4 sessions
Breweries at the Festival 24 780
Beers at the Festival 47 3,800+
Festival Hall Size 5,000 square feet 380,000 square feet
Attendees 800 60,000
Volunteers ~50 ~3,700

Familiar beers served in 1982 and still available today

  • Anchor Steam and Porter
  • Genesee Cream Ale
  • Killian’s Irish Red Ale
  • Leinenkugel’s
  • Rainier Ale
  • Rolling Rock
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stout
  • Stevens Point Special Lager
  • Yuengling Premium, Lord Chesterfield Ale and Porter

Small and independent craft breweries that participated in 1982 and are participating in 2017

  • Boulder Beer Company
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

GABF competition judging history

  • 1987: First judging, 7 judges, 99 beers
  • 2002: 16th judging, 90 judges, 1,863 beers
  • 2014: 29th judging, 222 judges, 5,507 beers in the competition
  • 2016: 31st judging, 264 judges, 7,227 beers in the competition

The post Then and Now appeared first on Great American Beer Festival.

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