Go for Gold: Why Entering the Canada Beer Cup is an Investment in Your Brewery and Canada’s Craft Brewing Industry

This year started as an uphill climb for many breweries. As your national voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Craft Brewers Association knows that you’re facing sky rocking ingredient and material costs, high interest rates and changing consumer tastes. Repaying CEBA during the slowest month of the year wasn’t a fun way to kick off the year either. 

Knowing that these pressures are existential for many breweries, the CCBA has been fighting harder than ever, and was proud to have a milestone win on the advocacy front on April 1st. 

We know that Canadian craft breweries play an important role in their communities, contribute to the economy in a meaningful way and are part of Canada’s rural renaissance. What other industry can say they have a manufacturing facility in nearly every small town across the country? 

While the CCBA’s national advocacy efforts are creating meaningful change for craft breweries, we acknowledge that many are still in a situation where they are cutting costs and recognize that marketing and other discretionary spends are the first to go. Maybe you’re on the fence about whether to enter beer competitions this year.

In a time where every penny counts, why enter the Canada Beer Cup?

Canada’s National Not-for-Profit Competition

The Canada Beer Cup is Canada’s only not-for-profit national beer competition, with 100% of proceeds supporting the CCBA’s advocacy work. Entering your beer in the Canada Beer Cup is not just a marketing spend and an opportunity to gain technical insight (although it is also both of those things!). Your entry is an investment in the industry, and specifically funds the CCBA’s ability to advocate for you on Parliament Hill.

It enables the CCBA to achieve significant steps forward like slashing excise tax rates by 50% on the first 15,000 hL of production for the next two years. Financial stability allows the CCBA to focus to matters that have a big impact on small craft breweries; like permanent excise modernization, staying on top of opposing the government’s lack of response to the CCSA low risk drinking guidelines and Senator Brazeau’s Bill C-254 which is calling for warning labels on all beverage alcohol, including beer.

Canada’s Most Prestigious Competition 

In both 2022 and 2023, the Canada Beer Cup was proud to boast a highly acclaimed panel of international and cross-Canada judges. Your beer was judged by globally acclaimed judges such as Luc De Raedemaker (Belgium), Andreas Falt (United Kingdom) and Maurizio Maestrelli (Italy).

In lead up to 2024, we surveyed all entrants to further understand what truly matters to you. What you loved, and where we can build and refine the competition. We listened, and more importantly we are putting that feedback into action. Thank you to everyone who completed that survey. 

This year we’ll strengthen the standard of excellence we’ve built, all while streamlining categories, giving brewers constructive feedback with more exhaustive score sheets and numerical scores, and creating a more diverse and geographically representative judging panel.

Head Judges & Staff

For our 2024 competition, we are thrilled to have three highly qualified Head Judges leading the charge of our beer judging, each with their own unique skill set.

Dave Cole (MB) is the Northern BJCP Assistant Rep and brings judging experience from over thirty competitions in addition to his Head Judge and organizational experience with five competitions including Prairie Beer Awards.

Lauren Richard (ON) is an Advanced Cicerone, sensory expert and experienced beer judge. She brings excellent technical knowledge and strong organizational skills that will keep the execution of a competition this size running smoothly and elevate the sensory analysis and feedback on entries.

Joe Wiebe (BC) judged both the 2022 and 2023 Canada Beer Cup. He has contributed in both a planning capacity and a judging capacity in competitions in BC. His experience as a recognized beer writer and member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers will help carry on Canada Beer Cup’s legacy as a springboard for brewers to gain exposure for noteworthy brews.

As your competition manager, it is my mission to put the best people and processes in place to bring about a world-class competition year after year. 

Logistics and details are critical when managing 1200+ entries. Beers are kept in cold storage at both consolidation points and the central sorting venue. Our airtight organizational system and fantastic logistics team ensures every beer gets judged in its best possible condition. Right down to the selection of the judging glassware and how many glasses go on a tray, we are dedicated to the details that can be the difference between a bronze and a gold award.

Your brewers put energy and dedication into these beers, and we strive to give each of them the attention to detail that they deserve.

Packaging Awards

2024 brings with it a new element to the competition: Packaging Awards! 

Great tasting beers shouldn’t get left on the shelf.

The Canadian craft brewing industry has hundreds of dedicated designers and marketers working to create beautiful and functional packaging, and with this new competition element, we aim to bring stand-out designs to center stage.

Our cross-Canada panel of packaging judges led by Amber Olson will provide your marketing team with constructive feedback based on a comprehensive rubric, helping your marketing team ensure your beers stand out from the crowd.

Cheers to Year Three!

With refined processes, new competition elements, and a strong team, I am pleased to bring about what is sure to be the Canada Beer Cup’s best year yet. To help celebrate our third year, the top three best in show winners will receive free entry into the World Beer Cup 2025. 

I also invite you to get to know the people and personalities behind the Canada Beer Cup, including last year’s best in show winner, Deadfall Brewing, through our YouTube channel.

Thank you for trusting us with your beer, and for investing in yourself and the CCBA’s efforts to advocate on behalf of Canada’s craft brewing industry.

Entries close June 28, 2024. Enter your submissions at www.canadabeercup.com