Dayton Beer Co. founder Peter Hilgeman is launching a new Ohio-only beer competition to showcase Buckeye State breweries.

The inaugural Ohio Craft Brewers Cup is set for July 23-27 at the Dayton brewery. Winners will be announced July 28.

"The goal is to showcase and highlight the awesome beer being brewed in the state from all over the state," Hilgeman said. "Now that we have over 250 [breweries], there's a lot of awesome beer and breweries people need to hear about."

He added that it's also "meant to foster and grow the community we have here already."

Ohio breweries are able to enter beers in 29 categories, with medals being handed out to the top three in each category. There also will be awards for best large, medium, small and nano brewery, along with honors for regions of the state.

The competition -- judged by professional brewers, BJCP-certified judges and guest judges -- will follow BJCP guidelines. The entry fee per beer is $50, which will cover the cost of attracting judges and the prizes, Hilgeman said. The deadline to enter is July 9.

He said he would like to see at least 75 breweries enter in the first year.

Hilgeman came up with the idea about four years ago. Back then, he didn't think there were enough breweries in the state to warrant such a competition, but that has quickly changed with the growth of the industry. He's been working on the plan for years.

"There are too many other states that have this going on and we don't have it," he said.

He also noted that Ohio has garnered great media attention for breweries winning medals at the Brewers Association's major competitions -- the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup -- but not all Ohio brewers enter those events. There are plenty of other breweries in the state making great beer that also deserve recognition, he said.

There's no public festival associated with the competition this year, although Hilgeman would like to see a tasting incorporated next year. Yes, he wants the Ohio Craft Brewers Cup to be an annual event.

"Hopefully this turns into something that's celebrated and people love it and it gets bigger every year," Hilgeman said.

For more details, including the rules, click here.