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African Beer Cup

Cape Town-based Lucy Corne (pictured right, far left Garrett Oliver) is one of the two initiators and organizers of the African Beer Cup. She is also the editor of “On Tap! magazine and founder of Brewmistress.co.za. Experienced in beer competitions, the Cicerone® certified judge has judged the World Beer Cup and numerous South African competitions.

Lucy shares, “In 2018, I co-founded the competition with my husband Shawn Duthie. After competing in a number of international competitions, we realized that Africa was the only continent without a “proper” beer competition.

While there are a few competitions held in South Africa each year, they do not accept entries from other countries.

We wanted to create a professional pan-African beer competition. To do that, we partnered with a conference here in Cape Town called the Craft Brewers Powwow. The awards will be presented on Saturday night of the conference.

The first African Beer Cup was held in 2019. Unfortunately, we had to cancel this year’s competition due to the pandemic. We are preparing for 2021.

What is unique about the African Beer Cup is that each beer in the competition is judged at least twice. Shawn came up with the idea after seeing that the same beers are sometimes rated high, sometimes low. Perhaps due to a judging error (tired palate, love for or dislike of the style, etc.).

The first tasting is held in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. All beers are judged in both cities. The final judging “Best-Of Show” and awards ceremony will be held in Cape Town.

Any commercial brewery, large or small; even international brewing companies, are eligible to participate as long as the beers were brewed in Africa.

We use the judging guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program, BJCP. There are minimum scores for each medal, bronze, silver, gold. If the minimum score is not met, there is no medal.

On the judging panel, we used a combination of BJCP-accredited judges, beer sommeliers, brewmasters and other experts. The panels consist of three people each. At the first African Beer Cup, we had Garrett Oliver on the Best-of Show judging panel. What an honor!