This year's 2013 Great American Beer Festival was an overall success for all who attended. But there were unprecedented hiccups from the beginning, mainly due to an increased demand for participation by the continuously growing number of breweries in America. 2,347 craft breweries were operating in 2012, up from 1,970 in 2011 according tobrewersassociation.org.
Initially, for brewers looking to submit beer for judgment and to pour at the festival, the sign-up was a nightmare. The window for registration was a matter of minutes for some – not unlike tickets to the public, which sold out in 20 minutes – and many breweries, even those who had earned medals last year, were waitlisted. In the end, most issues were resolved but there were breweries so miffed by tangles of red tape and logistical concerns that they didn’t attend – local favorite Eagle Rock Brewery among them.