Your Odds Vary at the GABF

This decision confronts every brewery when they start drawing up their list of beers to send to the GABF: which styles should we compete in? A gold medal's a gold medal's a gold medal, but the odds of winning it vary pretty dramatically. Consider these categories from the 2010 fest, their entries, and your odds of winning--assuming all the examples are super tasty:
Category 14, Gluten free beer, 13 entries, odds of winning: 7.7%
Category 47, American-Style India Pale Ale, 142 entries, odds of winning: .7%
This means a brewery is exactly eleven times more likely to win in the gluten-free category as in IPA. Put another way, you could fit eleven of the gluten free categories into one IPA. The flip side, of course, is that for the brewery to win IPA (or pale ale, 109 entries, .9% chance of winning), the bragging rights are impressive. For a year, your brewery gets to declare itself America's Best IPA--no small shakes in a country with two million different IPAs. (Interestingly, the claim to have the best gluten-free beer isn't terrible, either; that category is an important and growing one, and most of the gluten-free beers available aren't so hot.)

This year at least two of the beers from Mighty Mites (Oakshire's Little Smokey and Breakside's Grisette) are entered in the session beer category, which last year had 30 entrants (3.3% chance of gold). Not bad, not bad at all.
Jeff AlworthGABF 2011, GABFComment