HomeLocal NewsSacramento's beer elite gather for state's largest craft beer competition

Sacramento’s beer elite gather for state’s largest craft beer competition

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Sacramento, CA – In the vast expanse of California, over 1,200 craft brewers churn out a whopping $10 billion into the economy yearly. Last Thursday marked the kickoff of the fiercely contested craft beer championship in Sacramento. 65 beer aficionados, the cream of the crop, gather to assess contenders vying for the prestigious title in the state’s beer scene.

“This is the largest beer competition in California and one of the largest in the nation,” said Ryan Compagna, brewmaster at Touchstone Brewery Co. in Sacramento.

Kristen Madigan, among the discerning judges, emphasizes the weight of their responsibility in determining the ultimate winners in categories like Brewery of the Year and Best in Show.

“There is definitely pressure on us to make sure that we’re judging them properly,” she said.

“When they’re excellent beers, it’s hard to differentiate which is the best of them,” Brewers Cup judge David Teckem said.

Compagna said winning the gold medal can really boost beer sales.

“Retailers out there are saying, ‘I want the best IPA, I want the best pilsner,’ ” he said.

This comes amidst a backdrop of escalating competition in the alcohol market, where craft brewers strive to stand out. Sacramento’s brewing legacy, tracing back to the gold rush era, still thrives, sourcing hops, malt, and barley from the local Central Valley, giving Sacramento brewers a distinctive edge.

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“Maybe it’s not farm-to-fork. It’s more farm to glass, but it’s the same concept,” Compagna said.

Winners of the Brewers Cup awards will be presented in a ceremony at Sacramento’s Crest Theater on March 13.

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