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Michigan Breweries Collect 10 Medals at Great American Beer Festival Competition


Ten (10) brewery members of the Michigan Brewers Guild were awarded medals today (Saturday, October 8, 2016) at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Competition, in Denver, Colorado—the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence, presented by the Brewers Association.

In all, 286 medals were presented in 96 unique beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories). Winners were chosen from 7,227 competition entries (nearly 9 percent more than the 6,647 entries in 2015 and surpassing all previous participation records) from 1,752 breweries hailing from 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.

The competition also saw its biggest-ever panel of judges, with 264 beer experts from 12 countries, including the U.S., and 170 competition volunteers.

Michigan Brewers Guild member received the following awards:


  • Dirty Frank Stout — River’s Edge Brewing, Milford
    Category 89: Export Stout

  • Raucher – Wolverine State Brewing Co., Ann Arbor
    Category 34: Smoke Beer


  • Expedition Stout – Bell’s Brewing Co., Galesburg
    Category 32: Aged Beer

  • reDANKulous – Backstage Series – Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids
    Category 63: American Imperial Red


  • Angelina – Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids
    Category 30: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

  • Kusterer Original Weissbier – Cedar Springs Brewing Co, Cedar Springs
    Category 75: German-Style Wheat Ale

  • Broadway Light – Detroit Brewing Company, Detroit
    Category 38: American Style Cream Ale

  • Bangin The Mash – Latitude 42 Brewing Co., Portage
    Category 88: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout

  • Good Mooed Milk Stout – Railtown Brewing Co, Dutton
    Category 91: Sweet Stout or Cream Stout

  • Live Wire – Roak Brewing, Royal Oak
    Category 55: English IPA

The Great American Beer Festival invites industry professionals from around the world to sit together in small groups and, without knowing the brand name, taste beers in each specified style category. The ultimate goal of the judging panel is to identify the three beers that best represent each beer-style category as described and adopted by the GABF.

Five different three-hour judging sessions take place over the three-day period during the week of the festival, with judges assigned to evaluate beers in their specific area of expertise. Breweries are awarded points, which are tabulated to arrive at the top three place medals in each category. The judging panel awards gold, silver or bronze medals that are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence. These awards are among the most coveted in the industry and heralded by the winning brewers in their national advertising. Medal distinctions are as follows:

  • GOLD: A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.
  • SILVER: An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.
  • BRONZE: A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.

Now in its 35th year, the Great American Beer Festival is the granddaddy of all U.S. beer festivals, offering the largest collection of U.S. beer ever assembled. Sponsored by The Brewers Association, the festival features more than 3,800 different beers from 780 breweries throughout the country. More than 60,000 attendees and 3,600 volunteers gathered at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver for the 3-day event.

Michigan’s brewing industry continues to grow in the total volume of beer produced and sold, as well as in the number of breweries. Michigan currently ranks #5 in the nation in terms of the total number of breweries and the Guild proudly represents its highest number of members at 210 (and continually growing)—thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.” Michigan’s breweries are located in every area of the state, operating as community-focused small businesses that collectively employ more than 7,000 individuals and pay more than $144 million in wages. The overall impact of the craft beer industry in Michigan totals more than $608 million.

The mission of the Michigan Brewers Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry. Founded in 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan craft beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer we strive to achieve a 20% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption.

Summary: 2016 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

  • 35th anniversary of the festival; 30th edition of the GABF competition
  • 780 breweries in the festival hall
  • 3,800+ beers served at the festival
  • 60,000 attendees
  • 3,600 volunteers (festival and competition combined)
  • 1,752 breweries in the competition from 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
  • 254 medal-winning breweries
  • 286 total medals awarded
  • 7,227 beers judged (not including 88 Pro-Am competition entries), a nearly nine percent (9%) increase over 2015
  • 96 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 264 judges from 12 different countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 75 (excludes Pro-Am beers)
  • Category with highest number of entries: American-Style India Pale Ale: 312

The full list of 2016 GABF Competition Medalists can be found here.

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