Beer competitions

EBCU approval of beer competitions

As of April 2018 EBCU has formally endorsed the following competitions:

european-beer-star European Beer Star (european-beer-star.com), organized by Private Brauereien Deutschland, Private Brauereien Bayern and SIB 
(Germany)
World Beer Cup (worldbeercup.org) organized by the Brewers Association (USA) – not to be confused with the World Beer
Championships, World Beer Awards or World Beer Challenge.
Birra dell’Anno (unionbirrai.com), organized by Unionbirrai (Italy)
brusselbeer Brussels Beer Challenge (brusselsbeerchallenge.com), organized by Becomev (Belgium)
Dutch Beer Challenge (dutchbeerchallenge.nl), organized by Becomev (Belgium) in conjunction with Stichting Dutch Beer Challenge (Netherlands)
Austrian Beer Challenge (bierig.org/Award-AustrianBeerChallenge), organized by BierIG (Austria)
Suomen Paras Olut / Best Beer of Finland (www.suomenparasolut.fi), organized by Suomalainen Olut ry – Finska Öl rf (The Finnish Beer Association) in co-operation with Pienpanimoliitto ry (The Finnish Microbreweries’ Association)

Criteria for EBCU approval of beer competitions

For EBCU to recommend endorsement of any competition designed to bestow awards for the best commercially available beers a request must be made, by at least two EBCU-accredited judges following an audit of the essential 
criteria, at the request of the organisers.

A list of accredited EBCU judges is available on request from EBCU at competitions@ebcu.org.
 No fee is paid for this endorsement.

1 Essential criteria

1.1 The competition’s organisers must be in good standing in the beer world.

1.2 The competition must have been organised at least three times in the recent 
past.

1.3 The beer style descriptions must be published and must comply with generally 
accepted beer style descriptions (e.g. World Beer Cup, BJCP).

1.4 The judging procedures must be open and the awarding criteria should be available in the public domain.

1.5 The criteria for judging should be objective. Beers with off 
flavours and obvious defects should be rejected and in categories with limited entries judging teams must be allowed to choose an option that no award is given when no beer reaches an award-winning standard.

1.6. The awards are based on 1st / 2nd / 3rd best with a maximum of three awards per category (with the possible exception of equal best entries).

1.7 The competitions must be open to all breweries in the geographical area covered by the awards.

1.8 Judging must be independent. No beer should be judged by its brewer, 
or related personnel.

1.9 Judges must not be allowed to communicate externally while judging.

1.10 Judging must be blind. No judge should know the identity of any beer being judged.

1.11 All entered beers should be handled and stored with due care. They must be 
served at temperatures that are appropriate for the style.

1.12 Beers must be presented in appropriately designed glassware or odourless and tasteless plastic cups.

2 Desirable criteria

2.1 The competition should be dedicated to beer only or primarily.

2.2 The beers entered in the competitions should be regularly available rather than brewed only for competition.

2.3 Beers should be served efficiently and as soon after pouring as possible, so as to assist with judging volatile criteria such as carbonation, head and initial aroma.

2.4 They should be presented in a parallel flight/session so that they can be compared with others and if necessary to be re-tasted.

2.5 The judging must follow good practice, with a maximum of 12 beers per judging 
session and no more than 50 beers in a day. It is better that the flights go from lower to higher alcohol strength.

2.6 Judges should have the necessary expertise to judge different styles of beer across the international beer spectrum, including those outside their own beer culture.

2.7 A tasting panel should consist of at least three judges.

2.8 Discussion between judges should be allowed and encouraged when forwarding beers to a next round or awarding medals, to help counter personal preferences or tasting sensitivities.

2.9 There should be an opportunity for the judges’ written comments to be forwarded to the relevant brewery as feedback.

2.10 The minimum number of entries per category or beer style should be at least 10, wherever possible. Where there are fewer, one option is to group them with another style within the same category. Where this occurs we consider good practice to be to identify which beer is in which style. The alternative is to award fewer than three medals in the category unless the quality is outstanding.

2.11 There should be a time limit on the use of the award for publicity purposes or else the year of the award must be stated clearly on publicity material.


It is open to any beer competition organizer to approach EBCU with evidence of their adherence to the above criteria and ask for an audit with a view to receiving endorsement by EBCU.

The final decision to endorse a competition will be made by EBCU.  All decisions to continue with or withdraw endorsement rest with EBCU.

EBCU endorsement of a competition should not be taken to mean EBCU endorsement of any beers or breweries that receive awards from that competition. Reference to EBCU should not be made in publicity for the winners.

More information is available on request from competitions@ebcu.org