Cheers! Four Arizona breweries win at 2018 World Beer Cup

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Three Bellingham breweries combined to win four medals - three of them gold - at the World Beer Cup Awards on Thursday night, according to a story in the Coloradoan, a newspaper in Fort Collins, Colorado.

World Beer Cup winners were selected by an worldwide panel of 295 beer judges from 33 countries.

The total was second among states to California's 44 medals, and those states, as well as the state of OR, won more awards than any other country. Held in Nashville, Tenn., this year, it is a companion competition to the annual awards that the Brewers Association hands out each fall at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The global competition draws numerous best brewers from around the world and, according to its website, is referred to as "The Olympics of Beer Competitions".

The World Beer Cup, also referred to as the "Olympics of Beer", had over 8,000 entries from over 2,000 breweries in 66 countries. All other award-winning countries were previous winners. For additional information, visit the World Beer Cup website.

"We've now settled into longer term growth pattern in the mid-single digits", BA chief economist Burt Watson said at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, this week.

While not the same size as beer behemoths AB InBev or Molson Coors, it is still "tougher to be bigger" even as a regional independent brewer in the craft beer market, added Paul Gatza, director of the BA. GABF is open only to breweries from the United States, whereas the World Beer Cup is an global competition.