Can Beer Awards Actually Help Your Brewery?

Can winning a medal in a beer contest really help sales? Does that beer already stand on merit alone? Whether the beer was awarded or not, would the award improve sales? It’s an interesting argument that can’t entirely be dissected with a certain formula.

But, upon asking a few small and mid-sized breweries, with the talk centered on how placing in an awards show can help a brewery it really circled back to does it help sales?

The jury is really still out, but Augie Carton of Carton Brewing in New Jersey and Sam Pagano of City Steam Brewery in Hartford, Connecticut weighed in with interesting points. With the recent announcements of medal winners at the Great American Beer Festival, will those wins to tout in a press release really amount to increased revenue?

“Winning any competition judged by certified judges and industry peers is a huge deal for the brewery and brewer his/herself,” Pagano said.

Of course it’s an accomplishment, and a proud moment to say the least, but Pagano said where and how the win is presented can matter in terms of selling the beer after a win.

“In taprooms and brewpubs it’s huge,” he said. “You hang your medals and banners, which in turn makes a great reference and point of sale to the customer, really hammering home that this is the beer to drink.”

But for wholesale, Pagano is uncertain that comes into play quite as much. His brewery has won several smaller regional awards and he noted he can’t confirm that winning those awards do much for sales in off-premise accounts.

“Not every craft drinker knows GABF or what BJCP even means,” he said. “Not to say it would ever hurt sales, but [to] boost them? I am unsure.”

Carton said his brewery does not enter any contests and they don’t support events around contests.

“The last place you’ll find art is at an art contest,” he stated. “These are money grabs by non-artists based on the selling of belief there is a marketing benefit from being part of a list of people that paid to have their art considered by a panel of people of dubious merit at best.”

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  1. Brewer Magazine Q&A: Augie Carton, Carton Brewing

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