Beer Graphs makes a comparison to the Oscars to put a finer point on it.
American-Style India Pale Ale is without a doubt one of the most popular categories both for fans and brewers. In fact it’s the most represented category at the GABF with 279 entries. Of course, there are 3808 American IPAs listed on the BeerGraphs leaderboard so this contest features less than 10% of all IPAs.
You can see the problem here.
So there were no bad beers in the sample I pulled out. This is still a legitimate competition where judges, though human, try to pick the best of the bunch. There aren’t really any ‘bad’ movies at the Oscars either, but are they the best Hollywood has to offer?
I’ve always shrugged off beer awards as relatively meaningless. I’ve known some truly mediocre beers to boast top prize at various events. If something medals at the GABF then it’s a good bet that it didn’t suck and is worth trying, but I’m not sure that’s acclaim worthy of a boast on your marketing materials or packaging.
…and Whiplash was the best film of 2014 by the way.