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20 May 2022

Farewell Chris Swersey, welcome new WBC!

New record | Over 10,000 beers (2018: 8,345) were submitted by 2,658 breweries from 57 different countries, once again setting a new record for the World Beer Cup 2022 (WBC) staged by the Brewers Association (BA). The jury sessions for this giga-competition were held in three phases, with two in Louisville, CO, and the third ahead of the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Minneapolis.

The 76 international jurors, among them nine from Germany, also came to the final judging. The 60 German breweries who participated won eleven medals, making Germany the country to take home the most awards after the USA und just ahead of Canada – ending our brief roundup of the statistics for this ‘beer Olympics’. The complete 2022 winners list can be found at https://www.worldbeercup.org.

WBC 2022 was a memorable event for three reasons: firstly, all WBCs will be held in phases from now on, with the vast number of submissions otherwise not manageable. More surprising was the second announcement that the WBC will now take place annually instead of every two years, with the next competition in 2023 prior to the CBC in Nashville. And last but not least, what was probably the most emotional change was that the judges had been given some ‘personal news’ in advance, namely that 2022 was the last WBC with Chris Swersey who has chaired the competition since 2002 (!).

Farewell to Chris Swersey

There were standing ovations for the competition manager who has guided the members of the expert jury – the number of whom has risen from 100 20 years ago to currently over 200 – through over 30 competitions with expertise and integrity, including the Great American Beer Festival. With his engaging manner he has helped the WBC jury to grow into a warm and friendly community. Always calm and composed, present and appreciative, he read out the award winners in what are now over 100 categories.

WBC competition managers new and old: Chris Williams and Chris Swersey (from left to right)

Swersey is leaving from a happy reason: he’s following his love to Australia where he will take up the post of new product development brewer at the Tribe Brewery in Goldburn. “In my over twenty years of working for the Brewery Association, I’ve learned so much about beer and brewing that I’m really looking forward to applying this knowledge in my new position,” he enthuses. He was supply chain specialist at the BA from 2012 – a position that in 2020 was ended by the pandemic, also because grant programmes were discontinued. “My time at the BA was fantastic,” Swersey smiles. He’s happy and proud that he has been able to help strengthen craft brewers and their market through his work at the BA. He will remain an individual member of the BA and, “if my new employer has a sense of humour and lets me,” he continues, “I’d be delighted to take part in the WBC next year as a judge. Most of the jurors have also become my friends. It would be great to see them again at the WBC.” International tasting experts, for whom Chris Swersey has become a strong point of reference at the BA and a close friend of the beer world, hope so too.

The BA’s new competition manager is Chris Williams who has run the WBC’s beer logistics setup behind the scenes for twelve years now.