Today the Great American Beer Festival is considered to be the world's top beer-tasting event. According to the owner of Falling Rock Tap House Chris Black, the Great American Beer Festival is the All Star Game of beer, holding the largest and finest beer selections in the world. At present, the United States claims to produce a greater variety of beer than any other nation in the world, as was reported by the director of the Brewers Association Paul Gatza. The breweries at the Great American Festival are arranged by regions of the country, providing beer admirers with the walking tour of the beer-blessed landscape of the nation. Last year the Festival welcomed more than 28,000 beer lovers from around the world.
The Great American Beer Festival holds the Guinness World Record for the most beers displayed in one location. As of 2005, nearly 1,700 beers were on tap, 400 more than in 2003, and 215 more than in 2004. Almost all of the United States are represented at the Festival, with the exception of South Dakota, West Virginia and Rhode Island. The Great American Festival ranks second in the world after the Rose Parade for the number of volunteers participating in the show. Last year the number of Festival's volunteers totaled 2,500. The Festival is known for its 44,000 square foot Food Marketplace and Beer Garden as well as its cooking demonstration area with beer pairing seminars, now taking the center stage of the Festival. Each festival ticket has a coupon, which serves as a free admission to Cooper Mountain or Winter Park. The price of the ticket ranges from $15 to $55. An all-season pass makes $125 and $145 for the Brewers Association Members and non-members respectively. Numerous breweries, casinos and ski resorts have exhibits at the Festival annually.
The Great American Beer Festival is not only the largest beer collector, but it also has the greatest number of beer styles and an impressive amount of innovative brews. There is also a great beer competition, judged by the Professional Judge Panel of the Festival. Visitors have the opportunity to sip the beer designed for the competition. The Festival is open to industry professionals from all over the world to taste beer in each style category without knowing the brand name. The Judge Panel of the Great American Beer Festival aims at determining three winners of each beer-style category. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded by the Professional Judge Panel as recognized symbols of brewing excellence. In the case where judges determine that no beer in the category meets the criteria of style and quality, the medal is not awarded. Five judging sessions take place during the week of the Festival's duration. Competition awards of the Great American Beer Festival are among the most prestigious and are featured by the winning brewers in their national advertising. As of 2005, there were 466 breweries in the competition, judged by a panel of 109 judges. The top five medal winning states include California, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.