The Rainier Brewing Company recently claimed a gold medal at the 2000 Great American Beer Festival, the largest national beer competition that recognizes the most outstanding beers being produced in the United States today. The top three winners in each of the competition's 55 beer-style categories were announced on Oct. 7 at the Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony held in Denver, Colo., U.S.A. This is the second time in three years that Rainier Beer has won this award. Rainier Brewing Company was recognized in the American Lager beer-style category for Rainier Beer, a clean, crisp, full-bodied beer with a unique blend of Washington aroma hops and domestic malted barley. "This award, and the fact that we have won two out of three years, is a testament to our commitment to quality, to the use of the best ingredients and our enduring heritage in the Pacific Northwest," states Dan Melideo, brewmaster, for Rainier Brewing Company. 2000 Great American Beer Festival winners were selected by an international panel of brewing experts from an impressive field of 1,800 entries received from 420 breweries. More than 1300 breweries were invited to compete. "The Great American Beer Festival is the premier judging event for the American craft beer industry," states Sharon Mowry, festival director. "Being chosen a winner, no matter if gold, silver or bronze is truly an accomplishment." The Great American Beer Festival has been held every year since 1991 and is presented by the Association of Brewers, a not-for-profit educational and trade organization founded in 1978 that is dedicated to the promotion of quality beers and brewing throughout the world. The Association also hosts the bi-annual World Beer Cup and is based in Boulder, Colo., U.S.A.