Korea International Beer Award “KIBA”

Korea International Beer Award “KIBA”

Like most Asian countries, Korea’s beer history is not very long. ‘Beer’ was first introduced to Korea about 150 years ago, and for about 130 years, only the style of lager beer has been mainstream. With the 2002 World Cup in Korea, the Liquor Tax Law on small-scale breweries was changed a lot, home-brewing was legalized, and the Korean beer market began to change very quickly. However, even at that time, there weren’t many different styles of beer yet.

With several revisions of the Liquor Tax Law since 2014, the Korean craft beer market is developing and growing rapidly, and the beer style is becoming more diverse. Korean beer quality is also developing rapidly. Currently, many beers from Korean breweries are highly regarded in the world beer competitions and there are more than 140 breweries in Korea.

KIBA 2020 is the first international beer competition in Korea and is designed to promote the development of Korean beer industry and increase the competitiveness of the beer industry through competition with international beer. We believe that KIBA will introduce excellent beer to consumers and help expand an ideal and reasonable market for Korean beer.

Initially, we prepared KIBA to establish itself as the first international beer competition in Korea, with 49 judges from 23 countries.

Any brewery in the world can submit their beer to KIBA. KIBA is fully open to the world and welcomes all beers legally brewed and distributed. It is needed to check the beer criteria of KIBA in advance.

Kim Unson: „As the secretary general of KIBA, I did everything about organizing KIBA such as, planning, inviting judges, registering all participating beer, and running the competition and the award ceremony.

I have been working as a beer judge for almost 10 years, organizing domestic beer competitions or training beer tasters. I believed that I was familiar with the beer competition. But KIBA 2020 was a completely new challenge. Fortunately, my experience as  a judge has helped me a lot in organizing KIBA .

Since KIBA 2020, I have realized a lot of hidden effort and golden sweat from the organizers of many international beer competitions, and now I sincerely thank and respect them.

I have just taken the first step and are going a long way for KIBA. That’s why I need to make more effort and to have more experience in global competitions like European Beer Star.“

KIBA uses the World Beer Cup guidelines 2020 under license from BA, so all participating beers are classified into 111 categories. We are planning to add more categories for Korean beer to suit the Korean craft beer scene and situation within a few years.

There were 251 beers categorized in 79 from 44 breweries in Korea. 14 gold, 29 silver, 38 bronze medals were awarded. KIBA 2020, postponed from March to July due to COVID19, was held only with domestic beer considering the quality in the summer.


We sincerely hope that many breweries around the world can submit their beer to KIBA 2021.
John Junghoon Yoon, (cover photo) famed as an international beer judge, is KIBA’s chairman and The KIBA 2020 judging took place at the Orakai Cheonggyesan Hotel in Seoul on July 28 and 29 for two days and consisted of six judging sessions.

The award ceremony was held at aT Center in Seoul during KIBEX 2020 (Korea International Beer Exhibition) on July 30th, but unfortunately only the winners attended. „Just seeing their sincerely happy smile was  a kind of reward for me“. (Kim Unson)

Photos: ©Beerpost