Stephan Hilbrandt is the new Beer Sommelier World Champion

The German expert has prevailed against 69 beer sommeliers from 15 countries

The 5th World Championship of Beer Sommeliers took place in Munich at September 11th. Stephan Hilbrandt from Germany prevailed against a field consisting of 69 participants from 15 countries to become the new World Champion of Beer Sommeliers. Vice Champion is Felix Schiffner from Austria and the third place was taken over by Rodrigo Sawamura. The competition, organized by Doemens Academy, took place at Messegelände München in the run-up to the year’s drinktec convention. The contenders demonstrated their vast knowledge as well as their considerable sensory skills in the earlier stages of the competition. In the semi-finals, a knockout round which featured the most persuasive competitors from the quarter finals, the remaining contenders were expected to present a beer style to a small audience. During the grand finale, each of the six finalists had to exhibit their full range of skills – including stage presence – before a high-ranking team of eight jurors in front of a live audience. They were given a beer style to work with that they had not previously prepared themselves to present.


The three best Beersommeliers oft he World: 1st place Stephan Hilbrandt (center), 2nd place Felix Schiffner (left), 3rd  place Rodrigo Sawamura (right)

Stephan Hilbrandt from Bonn persuaded the jurors and the audience with his considerable knowledge and impressive skills as well as his compelling beer presentation. He will hold the title for the next two years, during which time he will have the opportunity to spread the word about the culture of beer worldwide: “As new Beer Sommelier World Champion I will talk about the broad variety of beer, convince people and be the ambassador for beer worldwide.”

Korean Beersommelier Championship

First Championship in Korea

On May 25th, the first beer sommelier championship took place in Seoul, and the head of the Doemens Savour Academy, Dr. Michael Zepf, was also present. Similar to the championships in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Brazil, the winners of this event are automatically qualified to compete in the World Championship of Beer Sommeliers in Munich. Among the six finalists, Soojin Lee was the clear winner, and has been crowned Korea’s first champion beer sommelier.

Brasilian Championship of Beersommeliers

The Brasilian Beersommelier champion has been selected

At the fourth Brazilian Beersommelier championship, held in early April, Edu Pelizzon was able to best a field of 150 competing Beersommeliers. He captivated the jury in Sao Paulo through the semifinal (40 participants) and the final (5 competing sommeliers). Edu Pelizzon has worked hard for this title, having successfully navigated a maze of tests and presentations that tested his skills in sensory technology application to the limit.

First prize for the winner is an extensive study tour as well as a unique professional development opportunity: the Barth-Haas-Group, principle sponsor for this event, has arranged a tour of the Yakima Valley (USA) hop cultivation and production facility, followed by a technical training course offered by the company’s own Hops Academy.


German champion of Beersommeliers

Frank Lucas of Rügen is the new German champion of Beersommeliers

The German Championship of Beersommeliers, held in early February, saw 56 beer experts from all over Germany demonstrate their sensory abilities, their comprehensive know-how in the field of beer styles and sensor technology as well as their presentation skills. The competition, organized by Doemens Academy in Gräfelfing, covered two preliminary rounds and an eventful final. Frank Lucas qualified for the finals by demonstrating excellent professional skills in the preliminary rounds, scoring at the top of the field. He then persuaded a jury of three with his overall presentation and compelling descriptions of food pairings for which the chosen beer is suitable. Christoph Puttnies placed second and Klaus Artmann took third place while a further 17 Beersommeliers claimed the remaining ranks. The new German champ, from the island of Rügen, will be representing Germany at the World Cup of Beersommeliers held in Munich this coming September. Congratulations to Frank Lucas!

Italian Championship of Beersommeliers

The Italian Beersommelier champion was picked

The Italian Championship of Beersommeliers, an event held in Rimini during the annual “Beer Attraction” – Italy’s most important beer fair for organic specialties, brewing technology and raw materials – crowned a new champion: Robert “Bobo” Widmann, brewmaster at Batzen Bräu in Bolzano. Widmann bested a field of 30 competitors in a dramatic finale, which has the candidates use their senses and some technical tools to correctly categorize beer styles and beer aromas, then subsequently give a detailed beer presentation before the judges. “I have participated in numerous courses and tastings. Naturally, this award is a nice affirmation of my years of hard work”, says Widmann.

Matteo Toso was the runner-up in this high-profile competition and Lorenzo Devoto took third place. The best five Italian candidates will compete for the coveted title of World Champion at the World Cup of Beer Sommeliers being held in Munich in September. Along with the Italian winners, the Swiss, Germans and Austrians have also selected their national champions. Further national championship events will take place in Brazil and Spain this Spring.

Swiss Championship of Beersommeliers

The Swiss Beersommelier champion has been crowned

One week after the German championships, the Swiss Championship of Beersommeliers was held in Zurich for the second time since 2015. A total of 33 Beersommeliers competed for the title. The winner was Patrick Thomi, assistant brewmaster at Doppelleu brew workshop of Chopfab in Winterthur. Fabian Albrecht, Martin Droeser and Kurt Althaus took the lower rankings. All four will represent their country at the Beersommelier World Championships in Munich on September 10th, 2017.

The Swiss Championship was organized by the Swiss Brewers Association in collaboration with GastroSuisse and Doemens Academy. After a theoretical examination, the candidates were expected to recogniize and correctly categorise various beer styles and beer aromas. During the finals, the remaining candidates were brought before a jury of four, including Carmen Wyss, Dr. Wolfgang Stempfl, Marcel Kreber and Roger Brügger to present a selected beer with regard to correct serving procedure, descriptive tasting, some background information specific to that beer style as well as suggesting persuasive food pairings. The presentations were all exceptional, which made the jury’s final decision quite difficult.

Sponsor Workshops

Communication workshop in preparation for the 5th Annual World Championship of Beersommeliers

A communication workshop with all eleven sponsors of the 5th annual World Championship of Beer Sommeliers was hosted in late January by the Bavarian Brewers Association. In addition to the two main sponsors (drinktec, Barth-Haas Group), they are the Bayerische Brauerbund, BrauKon, Deutsche Brauer-Bund, Die Freien Brauer, Sahm, Schäfer Container Systems, the Schweizer Brauerei-Verband, Verband der Brauereien Österreichs and Weyermann. This year’s sponsors have a lot in common: together they recognize the growing potential in the considerable variety of beer styles on offer in the marketplace, the importance of the enjoyment factor in beer consumption and the passion that beer can generate. We would like to thank all of the sponsors, who, with their commitment, make this year’s World Cup possible.

Some compelling innovations were presented at the workshop, the course of this and future World Championships was charted and related PR activities were discussed. There will certainly be more attention paid to digital-based projects from now on. This year’s final round, for example, will be streamed live on Facebook. All of the sponsors will be on hand at the event on September 10th, 2017 and will be looking to engage in meaningful discussions on that day.

Austria’s beer enthusiasts celebrate their national beer sommelier champion

Michael Leingartner inspires the expert jurors as well as the audience

The new Austrian national champion of Beersommeliers hails from Vienna. Michael Leingartner (34) was able to persuade the jury of experts at the third national championship of Beersommeliers with his sound knowledge, sensory skills and a highly professional beer presentation. Leingartner navigated the difficult route via the theoretical preliminaries and into the finals past all of his colleagues – including two women. 25 Austrian candidates took part in this competition, fighting fiercely for the title, on October 29th, 2016, at the Hofbräu Kaltenhausen under the guidance of Kiesbye’s BierKulturHaus.

“In the face of strong competition, I am particularly pleased with this victory,” says Leingartner, certified beer sommelier and professional beer brewer, who now sees himself as an ambassador for Austria’s beer enthusiasts. Leingartner follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, 2014 Beersommelier national champion Clemens Kainradl (39), who is this year’s runner-up.

“It was apparent from the start of the competition that this would be a high-caliber event. The 2016 championship was a complete success and it also benefitted Austrian beer culture immensely”, says jury member Ewald Pöschko, chairman of the mid-sized brewery section of the Austrian Brewers Association.