Beer Man

Tears for Beers: Most of Great American Beer Festival Canceled

Not happening.
Not happening. Westword file photo
The Brewers Association has finally announced the inevitable: The Great American Beer Festival will not take place as it has every year since its founding in 1982. Instead, the organization says it will host "an immersive online experience." Details of what, exactly, that will look like are still being worked out.

"While we are disappointed to not be gathering in Denver this fall, the health and safety of our attendees, brewers, volunteers, judges and employees is and always has been our top priority," the BA says in a statement, adding that the Colorado Convention Center has been designated as a potential COVID-19 care site.

The judged beer competition will still take place, however, so breweries across the country will be able to send samples for judging; the BA says it expects around 7,000 entries this year.

As for the online events, they'll take place on October 16 and 17 rather than September 24 to 26, as had been previously planned. Tickets and details will be released on August 1. Read the BA's entire statement below.


The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the country’s preeminent beer festival and competition, will pivot its 2020 event, originally scheduled for September 24-26 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, to an immersive online experience October 16-17.

This decision was further confirmed with the announcement on May 20, when Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes to allow the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado due to the presence of coronavirus disease 2019, rendering GABF at the Colorado Convention Center infeasible.

The GABF competition will take place this fall, with an anticipated 7,000+ entries. Awards will be announced on Friday, October 16 via live streaming. Brewery registration for the 2020 competition opens June 9. More information.

Festival details are still being finalized, but we plan to offer a compelling schedule of virtual experiences and live activations across the country. Complete festival and ticket details will be announced August 1.

This marks the first cancellation of its kind for GABF, and while we are disappointed to not be gathering in Denver this fall, the health and safety of our attendees, brewers, volunteers, judges, and employees is and always has been our top priority. As the world is still greatly affected by the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to be affected for the foreseeable future, we must stay true to our priorities and pursue other ways to host GABF.

We look to celebrating the annual accomplishments in brewing excellence and look forward to 'seeing everyone' this fall.

In the meantime, the Brewers Association is working tirelessly on behalf of its members and the larger brewing community to lobby Congress for relief from the pandemic, as well as create business-critical resources to help brewers navigate the changing business landscape. Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, which includes information on starting up draught systems after prolonged closure, reopening checklists, forecasting cashflow, OSHA guidance for curbside takeout, and more.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes