What the Maths Say About Our GABF Showing
Every time someone hands me a pile of raw data I get a little "twitterpated". The analytical part of my brain dusts itself off and scrunches up its wee nose in an effort to understand what's happening. To that end, the Great American Beer Festival, (GABF) was last weekend and, god love 'em, those judges plowed through almost 8,000 beers! No sooner was that massive nod to America's favorite sudsy beverage packed up were those results available, and so...my brain got to work.
We all know what someone actually means when they say, "it's not about the quantity, it's about the quality". They're pretty much telling you, "well, I'm disappointed there weren't more of whatever it was but at least what we had was pretty good." In this case, though, I think that our 10 medals are a solid representation of what Washington has to offer. I compared this to the three states I believe to be our strongest competition and give the following, with the caveat that we don't know how many total entries were submitted for each state, these are just the beers that won. I could, however, safely assume that the total beers entered were very probably in direct proportion to those that medaled.
California (850 breweries in the state)
16 bronze = 28%
23 silver = 40%
18 gold = 32%
Colorado (350 breweries in the state and the home of GABF)
10 bronze = 26%
14 silver = 37%
14 gold = 37%
Oregon (250 breweries in the state)
7 bronze = 41%
3 silver = 18%
7 gold = 41%
Washington (350 breweries in the state)
0 bronze = 0%
4 silver = 40%
6 gold = 60%
According to the Washington Beer Blog, there were 15% more breweries and 24% more entries in this year's competition. It's getting harder and harder to win those medals, which means that our 60% gold-medal-winning success rate is actually pretty impressive. We DO have quality over quantity, here. Also, only 11 states didn't win anything so our playing field is wide open. Even Mississippi and Alabama took home medals, and they were the last two states to legalize homebrewing, which it could be argued, is how a lot of professional breweries get their start.
So, don't fret, fellow Washington craft beer lovers. We may not have won as much as we have in the past but I'd say we're definitely giving the judges something to think about. We don't have to win a lot, we just have to win big.
Check out GABF's full list of 2017 winners: https://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/the-competition/winners/