Japan Wins Big at 2008 World Beer Cup…

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Amidst the stream of recent posts elsewhere about the results of the bi-annual World Beer Cup, held in conjunction this year with the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, California, was a little reported story about how big craft beer is growing on an international scale. About a year ago, I spent a few weeks traveling around Japan, seeing the country and trying its beers. I was impressed with the relatively young craft beer scene across the country, with its pockets of excellent breweries.

The competition has grown quite international since its early days, with 58 countries competing this year. Breweries from 21 countries took home medals. When the Brewers Association announced its recent awards, American brewers, as expected, pretty well cleaned house with 158 awards. From there, you’d expect traditional brewing countries, such as German, Belgium, and the Czech Republic to have dominated the rest. While German brewers took home a respectable 25 medals, Japanese breweries nearly outlasted their Belgian counterparts with 10 medals to the Belgian’s 11. Here’s the interesting part: German breweries, as expected, won medals in German styles and Belgian brewers won medals in Belgian styles. Japanese brewers, like their American counterparts, won medals across a broad swath of international styles, from hefeweizen to cream ale to Scottish ale and even in the experimental category. That is an impressive achievement. Brewer Bryan Baird of the Baird Brewing Company won two medals as did the producers of the Swan Lake brands. My congratulations go out to the Japanese brewers for their impressive performance.

-Baird Brewing Co, Big Red Machine Fall Classic Ale, Cellar or Unfiltered Beer, Bronze
-Baird Brewing Co, Nide Beer – The Ale, American-Style Cream Ale or Lager, Bronze
-Fujikankokaihatsu co., LTD, Fujizakura kogen Beer “Weizen”, South German-Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier, Silver
-Hyokoyashikinomori Brewery Tentyokaku Co., Inc., Swan Lake Beer Amber Swan Ale, American-Style Amber/Red Ale, Silver
-Hyokoyashikinomori Brewery Tentyokaku Co., Inc., Swan Lake Beer Porter, Robust Porter, Bronze
-Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Beer, Espresso Stout, Coffee Flavored Beer, Bronze
-Kumazawa Brewing Co., Shounan Liebe, German-Style Schwarzbier, Gold
-Nasu Kohgen Beer., Ltd., Scottish Ale, Scottish-Style Ale, Bronze
-Sekinoichi Shuzo Co. Ltd, Iwate Kura Beer Oyster Stout, Experimental Beer (Lager or Ale), Silver
-Shimono Co., LTD, Kaorino Nama, German-Style Kölsch/Köln-Style Kölsch, Bronze

Congratulations are also due to Molson Coors for its strong showing with the Blue Moon Brands, culminating in a win for the Blue Moon Brewing Company and brewer Warren Quilliam in the Large Brewing Company category.

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