The event drew a record-setting 10,542 entries from around the world this year.
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World Beer Cup Award
Credit: Courtesy of The Brewers Association

The Great American Beer Festival is America's best-known beer event. But the Brewers Association (BA) also runs the World Beer Cup where brewers can enter from both the U.S. and across the globe. The biennial event was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but brewers were apparently itching for its return: the 2022 World Beer Cup became the first BA event to haul in more than 10,000 entries.

In total, this year's World Beer Cup — held at the Minneapolis Convention Center — received 10,542 entries from 2,493 breweries across 57 countries, a significant increase from the 2018 event which received 8,234 entries. The World Beer Cup also topped the most recent GABF (held last year) which saw 9,680 entries.

Demonstrating just how global craft beer has become, the World Beer Cup also featured another exciting first: the country of Colombia won a gold medal for the first time thanks to Bogota's Pola Del Pub brewery which topped the Specialty Saison category with their beer, Saison Con Miel, besting the silver and bronze medalists from the Netherlands and Japan respectively.

In the total medal count, the U.S. still dominated: 252 in all. However, looking at the rate of wins compared to the number of entries, the U.S. landed toward the middle of the pack, finishing tenth with just 3.13 percent of U.S. entries medaling. Ireland had the highest medaling rate with one of its six entries winning. But as far as multiple winners were concerned, Germany performed the best: 11 out of the country's 258 entries medaled for a 4.26 percent return. Never say the Germans don't know how to make beer!

Along those lines, five of the six most entered categories also skewed towards traditionally American and German styles: American-Style India Pale Ale, Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale, German-Style Pilsener, International Pilsener or International Lager, and Munich-Style Helles. That left Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout as the odd man out. And when it came to the top two most entered styles, America proved it was still king of the IPA: all six medals were from American breweries.

"The World Beer Cup showcases the incredible breadth and talent of the global brewing community," Chris Swersey, the competition director, stated. "Winning an award at this extremely competitive event symbolizes one of the greatest accomplishments in the art of brewing."

Finally, for all those brewers who didn't medal this time, they have reason to be excited again. This year, the World Beer Cup also announced that it would go from a biennial event to an annual event starting next year in 2023.