Mark Zunkel

Nuremberg, Germany

How did you get into the beer industry? Why does beer matter to you?

I studied my undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder. There, I was able to experience the craft brewing scene, but my true inspiration for brewing started during a study abroad year in Regensburg, Germany. I fell in love with lager beer and German brewing traditions. After returning to finish my studies, I started homebrewing. That accelerated my interest in beer and brewing, after which I applied and studied at the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan. After graduating, I started working with the world's largest hop supplier, BarthHaas, as a technical manager. My passion lies in the tasting and technology of beer. Hops as a raw ingredient are the core of my passion. The composition, aroma, cultivation regions, and the individuals involved in the hop industry are central to my passion for beer.

Why do you judge at the World Beer Cup? What does judging at the World Beer Cup mean to you?

I judge for many reasons: Meeting with beer industry colleagues, debating beer and beer styles, and experiencing the quality of beer in the market. The most interesting categories for me are all hoppy styles, but also the experimental categories where a brewer’s imagination can run wild. First and foremost though, the World Beer Cup is for brewers and their customers. Therein lies the value for everyone in the industry and the most important reason why all the judges, breweries, and beer consumers should praise one of most important beer events in the world!