Great American Beer Festival Plans for Return to In-Person Gathering in 2022

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Apr 5, 2021 at 5:49 PM.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,314) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    2021 competition continues, awards ceremony to take place at Craft Brewers Conference® in September

    Boulder, Colo. • April 05, 2021 — The Great American Beer Festival® (GABF), the country’s largest ticketed beer festival, will skip its public event in 2021 and return in person to celebrate its 40thanniversary October 6-8, 2022 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Despite vaccination efforts and the gradual reopening of the country, the health and safety concerns for large indoor gatherings, like GABF’s 60,000-attendee event, remain.

    “We are disappointed to cancel the festival portion of GABF for the second year in a row,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO for the Brewers Association. “While we will miss celebrating with beer lovers and our craft brewing community, we are excited to continue with the GABF competition and national passport program this year. We look forward to convening in person for the festival’s 40th anniversary in 2022.”

    As previously announced, the Brewers Association will host the 2021 GABF competition and awards ceremony that typically coincides with the festival. Winners of the world’s most prestigious professional beer competition will be revealed during the Brewers Association’s annual Craft Brewers Conference® & Brew Expo America ® on September 10, 2021 at the Colorado Convention Center. The awards ceremony will be livestreamed from the Bellco Theatre on The Brewing Network. More information about the competition and awards ceremony is available at

    Despite the festival cancellation, beer lovers across the country will have the opportunity to participate in a national passport program September 17 through October 17, 2021. Passport holders will have exclusive access to deals at participating breweries nationwide. More than 1,100 breweries from all 50 states participated in the inaugural program last year. Passports are priced at $20 and will be available for purchase in July. Brewery registration for the 2021 passport program opens June 29 at

    Denver Beer Week, the Mile High City’s annual event coinciding with GABF, will shift its dates to correspond with the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) September 9-12. From September 10-18, the nine-day celebration of craft beer, hosted by VISIT DENVER, is anticipated to feature more than 200 events including tap takeovers, rare beer tastings, meet the brewer events, and more.

    “Beer is synonymous with the Denver brand and our city has maintained a longstanding relationship with the Brewers Association and GABF that spans nearly four decades,” said Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER. “We are optimistic that Denver will welcome the country’s largest beer celebration back in its truest form next year and, in the meantime, we are excited about the return of the Craft Brewers Conference this year, which will fill thousands of hotel rooms with beer enthusiasts from across the industry.”

    For more information, follow GABF on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and use hashtag #GABF.

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  2. officerbill

    officerbill Crusader (721) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    If the organizers don't foresee Colorado lifting their mask/crowd restrictions by Fall, why not just relocate the 2021 fest to Texas or South Dakota?
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  3. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (151) Aug 30, 2007 Colorado

    The BA is based in Boulder and has always held the event in Denver and probably doesn't want to change that. They would rather the economic impact help in their backyard. It's also much easier to run an event in the spot you've done it in for the last 25 years than go somewhere else. Texas? SD? Hard pass.
    sharpski likes this.
  4. officerbill

    officerbill Crusader (721) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    That sorta makes sense.
    I was thinking of it from a business/fund raising POV and wasn't considering that they are willing to lose a second year for “personal” reasons.

    It will be interesting to compare 2019 vs 2022 attendance figures, particularly for out of state visitors. Will as many people still believe that a trip to the GABF is worth the time and expense after a two year absence?
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,930) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And IMO that is a reasonable perspective.

    I am a member of the American Homebrewers Association (which is part of the BA) and I was told by a member of the governing committee that the annual event of HomebrewCon (it was formerly called the National Homebrewers Conference) was the major source of income for AHA. They cancelled last year's HomebrewCon and they recently decided to cancel this year's event (San Diego, CA) because of state rules/mandates. Last year there were several AHA (BA) employees laid off due to lack of funds. I was personally sorry to see that Gary Glass was laid off (along with over a dozen others). Now that a decision was made to cancel a second HomebrewCon I wonder how many folks will be laid off this year?

    I have no idea how much income the GABF brings into the BA but it has to be a non-trivial amount. Will the BA member breweries be willing to pay more in dues to make up for this loss?

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  6. jjboesen

    jjboesen Meyvn (1,309) Feb 1, 2002 Maryland

    Perhaps, they might have it outdoors.
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