Homebrew Competition at the NC State Fair

NC Brewer's Cup LogoThere has been much clamoring among NC homebrewers as well as commercial craft breweries about the desire to have a beer competition as part of the North Carolina State Fair, and this year, it is going to happen for the first time ever!

Both professional brewers and home brewers can submit their beers to the North Carolina Brewers Cup to be judged and displayed at the State Fair in Raleigh, which runs from October 11 to 21, 2012.

This will be the first year brewers have been able to participate, although wineries and wine makers have competed for a number of years. In 2011, 343 medals were awarded to wines at the fair, and N.C. brewers and beer enthusiasts are thrilled that beer will be on parity with the wine industry this year.

There currently are 60 breweries in the state, up from only 16 a decade ago. There are at least a dozen more in the planning stages (including our own Fortnight Brewing Company), making brewing one of the most dynamic industries in the state.

Judging and Awards

An eight to twelve member panel of judges from several states will judge the beers. All entries will be judged blind, based on the category and subcategory.

Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded to both commercial beer and home brewer winners for first, second and third places.  And let’s be real – you know you want to be one of the FIRST homebrewers to be awarded a blue ribbon from the State Fair!

Beer categories, style guidelines, judging procedures and contest terms and conditions for the North Carolina Brewer’s Cup have been adopted from the 2008 Beer Judge Certification Progrm (BJCP) at www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.php and the Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup Competition.  Not all categories will be judged.  For a full list of categories in the competition, go to http://ncbrewerscup.org/competition/.

Judging will take place: September 28-29, 2012.
Exhibits will be released: Monday, October 22, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Entering the Competition


  1. Entrant must be the producer of the beer.
  2. Exhibitors may visit www.ncbrewerscup.org or www.ncstatefair.org for competition results and updated information regarding the competition.
  3. Winners may be displayed at the State Fair in the Education Building October 11-21.
  4. Entries will be judged according to the 2008 version of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines at www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.php.
  5. Entries will be accepted for the 15 BJCP categories listed on the NC Brewer’s Cup website.
  6. Beers are judged according to style guidelines for the subcategory as listed by the entrant.


  1. Only amateur home brewers residing in North Carolina are eligible to enter the Home Brewer competition.
  2. Entrants must submit two (2) 22 oz. bottles, or three (3) 12 oz. bottles of each entry.
  3. Entry fees are $10 per beer entry. Make entry fees payable to NC State Fair.

Entry fees and entry forms must accompany entries during shipment/delivery; everything should arrive as one package. Do not send fees separately.


Ship entries, entry forms, and fees to:
Harris Incorporated

ATTN: North Carolina Brewers’ Cup
3505 Hillsborough Road
Durham, NC 27705-2916

For information about entry forms, fees, and more, visit www.ncbrewerscup.org or contact Richard Mitchell at 202.251.9934. For more information about the N.C. State Fair, visit ncstatefair.org.

Launch party sign

Launch Party

The NC Brewer’s Cup is hosting a launch party in Chapel Hill at the Standard THIS SATURDAY, June 16th from noon – 4pm.  There will be lots of great beer there to try, as well more info about the event.  Word on the street is that there will even be a few “special” brews from some of your favorite not-yet-open NC breweries!!

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased at ncbrewerscup.org/event/nc-brewers-cup-launch-party.  Hope to see you there!



Hi Manfre – as per the post, it says that “Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded to both commercial beer and home brewer winners for first, second and third places.”

So yes, for the first time ever, there will be ribbons awarded for homebrewers at the State Fair!


I clicked through to the competition page (http://ncbrewerscup.org/competition/), which implies that only commercial beers get ribbons.

From the judging section:

“Ribbons will be awarded to Commercial Beer winners in the following categories.

Prizes for Home Brewers for the following categories: 1st: $10 2nd: $7 3rd: $5”

Regardless of the potential homebrewe prize, I’m really glad this competition is going to happen. It will be better if I can post a picture of my winning beer with a ribbon on the glass, instead of a $10 bill. 😉


I think the implication is that they are not awarding prize money to commercial beer winners, only to homebrewers. But I’ll look into it and confirm for you. I also know that there are some potential sponsors that may be looking to sweeten the deal for the winners with some nice prizes. I’ll post once I hear anything official.

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