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General Category => Events => Topic started by: tony on January 26, 2013, 01:46:09 PM

Title: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 26, 2013, 01:46:09 PM
*There will no longer be a separate Canadian qualifying competition as part of the National Homebrew Competition. Canadian residents wishing to enter the NHC should send entries directly to one of the U.S. judging centers. This change is being made in part due to requests from Canadian entrants who would prefer to enter at U.S. judging centers that in many cases are closer than the Canadian qualifying competition. The change also reflects the fact that currently there are vastly more AHA members in the U.S. than in Canada.


I wonder if anyone on the committee who made this change ever thought how hard it is to send home brew INTO
the USA? I doubt there were many requests from Canadians to make this change.
This change effectively means that I will not be able to enter this years NHC competition. Too bad.  :(
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Hokerer on January 26, 2013, 03:30:59 PM
I wonder if anyone on the committee who made this change ever how hard it is to send home brew INTO
the USA? I doubt there were many requests from Canadians to make this change.
This change effectively means that I will not be able to enter this years NHC competition. Too bad.  :(

Sounds like one of the reasons they made the change, stick with me here, was exactly the one you mention.  The problem being that only a small percentage of those qualifying for the second round via the Canada site chose to overcome that difficulty and actually sent their entries.  I guess someone figured what's the point of having a qualifying competition if those qualifying either aren't able to or won't go through the difficulty of sending their winning entries on to the next round.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 26, 2013, 04:01:36 PM
As far as I know, all qualifiers have indeed sent their entries to the second round, or at least those with good scores that qualified. I'm sure not every qualifier from the US enters the second round if they think that their scores aren't really high enough to actually place in the second round.

Having to send second round entries legally through the US/Canada border is hard enough even given the time we have to organize it, but to have to arrange to send qualifier entries across the border given a much shorter notice and with the amount of entries in most US sites on a high, that by the time our entries arrived, they probably wouldn't have met the cutoff for entries deadline.

It just seems like the AHA has let down Canadian home brewers to me, by taking away the Canadian site.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: garc_mall on January 26, 2013, 04:51:15 PM
Direct quote from the woman who runs NHC.

Quote
We had 53 of 84 Canadian entries submitted (31 not submitted) in 2012 to the Final Round which is ~63%.  There were another 22 entries from all of the U.S. competitions (840 entries possible) that were no shows.  I know that some of the Canadian no shows were held up at Customs and returned to Canada, and I have to think the extra effort involved with shipping and having to get through Customs can be a deterrent to Canadians entering.

63% for Canada vs 97% for the U.S.

I think the AHA is simply trying to maximize % entry from 1st to 2nd round. Also, I wouldn't think its much more difficult to get to the first round than second. registration to 1st round is about 2 1/2 months, right, and 1 1/2 months from 1st to second.

just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 26, 2013, 05:05:51 PM
I think the AHA is simply trying to maximize % entry from 1st to 2nd round.

Percentage wise, it might, but why lose any entries at all especially when it is a Canadian club hosting that first round?
Why not just add more sites to the competition and leave the Canadian one as is?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Hokerer on January 26, 2013, 05:24:43 PM
I think the AHA is simply trying to maximize % entry from 1st to 2nd round.

Percentage wise, it might, but why lose any entries at all especially when it is a Canadian club hosting that first round?
Why not just add more sites to the competition and leave the Canadian one as is?

If you added more sites, that would mean the final round would have more entries and, as hard as they've tried, they haven't been able to come up with a reasonable approach to accommodate that - it's pretty much maxed out at the present size.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: garc_mall on January 26, 2013, 05:45:30 PM
They actually added a site this year, so now there are 11 sites.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 26, 2013, 06:46:49 PM
They actually added a site this year, so now there are 11 sites.

well, there were 11 last year too technically.  the 11th US site replaces the Canadian site...since Canada had about 540 entries last year the competition will only grow by a couple hundred entries.  And if we assume the % of Canadians winning first round and not entering Finals doesn't change much, the Final Round could end up not growing at all.  Worst case it grows by about 50 beers, still less than one site.

To the OP, I don't understand the problem.  Why can't you enter?  I'm assuming you'd be willing to ship your beer to the Final Round, so why not the First Round?

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: garc_mall on January 26, 2013, 07:07:30 PM
yeah, you are right, I was thinking there was 1 Canadian and 9 US sites.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tygo on January 26, 2013, 09:04:44 PM
Just for the sake of my own curiosity how difficult is it to ship beer across the border?  Does a lot of it get held up?  I've never shipped any internationally before.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 27, 2013, 04:23:58 AM

To the OP, I don't understand the problem.  Why can't you enter?  I'm assuming you'd be willing to ship your beer to the Final Round, so why not the First Round?

cheers--
--Michael

Getting someone to mule second round entries to the site would be an imposition I could justify for a second round entry but not for a first round. It's not like I can just post or courrier my entries there like
I can to the Canadian qualifier.


To quote part of a discussion of the matter by Bill Pierce seen here
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/community/news/show?title=national-homebrew-competition-sees-changes-in-2013


"From a strictly legal standpoint, it requires an export-import license, something that as a practical matter only a commercial enterprise would have. Those Americans who complain about being forced to resort to subterfuge in order to send entries via the usual shipping companies have it very easy by comparison. All packages shipped across the US-Canada border are now x-rayed, which makes the contents easily visible.
"
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 27, 2013, 06:50:46 AM
Interesting stuff Tony; obviously most of us have little idea what you have to go through.

I could make some comment about the needs of the many over the few, or about the first "A" in AHA, but they seem overly callous and I don't really believe those sort of things apply anyway.  Hopefully you Canadians will hold your competition anyway.

the NHC seems to be changing pretty much annually, so hopefully if you miss out it will just be the one year before there is a work-around.  There is simply no way to make everyone happy, at least yet. 

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 27, 2013, 08:38:23 AM
Interesting stuff Tony; obviously most of us have little idea what you have to go through.

I could make some comment about the needs of the many over the few, or about the first "A" in AHA, but they seem overly callous and I don't really believe those sort of things apply anyway.  Hopefully you Canadians will hold your competition anyway.

the NHC seems to be changing pretty much annually, so hopefully if you miss out it will just be the one year before there is a work-around.  There is simply no way to make everyone happy, at least yet. 

cheers--
--Michael

Yeah, I can sometimes understand the needs of the many etc. and do understand that it is primarily a US competition thing, but I don't happen to think that making progress is taking away something. I'm sure the handful of entries that make it to the NHC from Canadian qualifier isn't going to over burden the judges enough to justify discontinuing the Canadian event.
I may be fortunate enough to be able to enter from Florida this year as it seems like I will be there around the same time as entries into the first round will be accepted at that time in March. Here's hoping.

In the meantime, perhaps next year will see a return to Canada hosting a qualifying event.

Cheers
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: markaberrant on January 27, 2013, 01:07:31 PM
A few thoughts:

- Removing Canada and adding another US site will increase pressure on judging the 2nd round.  I thought this was the problem trying to be addressed?

- While I respectfully appreciate this is the AMERICAN Homebrewers Assocation, the ALES Club in Regina has been an NHC 1st round qualifier since 2004 (and there has been a Canadian Qualifier a lot longer than that).  We went through some lean years and some growing pains, but our volunteers have worked very hard over the last 9 qualifiers to build it up, and to promote the AHA in general.  I've personally invested a ton of time and effort over the last 5 years to make our qualifying competition the best competition in Canada, and I would now put it up against any competition ANYHWERE in terms of quality, value, and professionalism.  If you read Zymurgy last year, you'll recall an article where Janis singled us out as a qualifier that is extremely well run and easy to deal with.

- I just finished running a local BJCP course and administered an exam to 14 new judges.  This will complement our current pool of 16 local judges (2 of which are National, with another soon to be National).  This may not seem like much, but find me another city of 200,000 with 30 BJCP judges, and the next closest pool of judges are 7 hours away.  I'm not saying that losing the qualifier hurts this, but it certainly was the reason why we have a concentrated pool of judges.

- I am the only Canadian to medal at the NHC in the last 12 years.  I don't consider myself to be some sort of celebrity, but I am humbled by how many fellow Canadians congratulated me, by how many of them have asked me for recipes and tips, and by how many of them have been inspired to also strive for an NHC medal as a result of my success.

- In Canada, the NHC is very highly respected as a competition, and as an extension, so is our qualifying competition.  I've been in many discussions with fellow Canadian homebrewers where they say that our competition is what seperates the men from the boys, and that winning medals at other competitions don't mean nearly as much.  Qualifying for the 2nd round is a big deal.

- I suppose these changes can mean opportunity for Canada to develop and strengthen our internal competitions.  However, I don't see why it has to be a one or the other proposition, as in fact, we have been seeing steady growth and improvement of the Canadian Qualifier AND other Canadian competitions... in my mind, it goes hand in hand.  Again, I'm not boasting, but in many ways, the ALES Club in Regina has tried to be an example to the rest of Canada as to how to run a succesful club and competition, and we were able to do this in part because we had the NHC Qualifier in our back pocket.

- I know which country I live in, but I felt very proud to be affiliated with the AHA and the NHC, and in many ways it drove me to strive for excellence as a homebrewer, a club president, a competition coordinator, a judge, a judge trainer, and as a competitive brewer.

- It will be interesting how many Canadians enter at all this year.

- I fully respect the AHA, and I can see things from their point of view.  But from the point of view of a 6-year NHC entrant, a 5-year co-ordinator and judge of the Canadian Qualifier, and as a 6-year Canadian AHA member, I can't help but feel like I have been told I am no longer welcome or needed.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 28, 2013, 11:14:13 PM
- Removing Canada and adding another US site will increase pressure on judging the 2nd round.  I thought this was the problem trying to be addressed?
Yes and no - we need to weigh the growth in entries for the competition vs. the availability of judges in the 2nd round.  The number of beers that make it to the 2nd round is not going down in the foreseeable future.  In this way we are increasing by a few hundred the number of entries that can be entered in the 1st round while only slightly increasing the number of entries that will be in the 2nd round.  Hopefully as the conference continues to grow the number of judges that attend will also grow and we will be able to handle the growth in entries, but we can't risk a situation where we have the 2nd round judging lasting for more than one day or even for going late on a single day.

- While I respectfully appreciate this is the AMERICAN Homebrewers Assocation, the ALES Club in Regina has been an NHC 1st round qualifier since 2004 (and there has been a Canadian Qualifier a lot longer than that).  We went through some lean years and some growing pains, but our volunteers have worked very hard over the last 9 qualifiers to build it up, and to promote the AHA in general.  I've personally invested a ton of time and effort over the last 5 years to make our qualifying competition the best competition in Canada, and I would now put it up against any competition ANYHWERE in terms of quality, value, and professionalism.  If you read Zymurgy last year, you'll recall an article where Janis singled us out as a qualifier that is extremely well run and easy to deal with.
The ability of ALES to run the competition really had nothing at all to do with moving the location - it wasn't even a consideration.  And Canada is in (North) America anyway. ;)  The expansion of your judging pool is fantastic, but again, not a consideration.

- In Canada, the NHC is very highly respected as a competition, and as an extension, so is our qualifying competition.  I've been in many discussions with fellow Canadian homebrewers where they say that our competition is what seperates the men from the boys, and that winning medals at other competitions don't mean nearly as much.  Qualifying for the 2nd round is a big deal.
I would encourage Canadians to continue to enter the competition, despite the new difficulties.  Our Canadian members are now on the same playing field as all of the other non-US AHA members.  It's a crappy playing field because of the shipping issues though.

- I fully respect the AHA, and I can see things from their point of view.  But from the point of view of a 6-year NHC entrant, a 5-year co-ordinator and judge of the Canadian Qualifier, and as a 6-year Canadian AHA member, I can't help but feel like I have been told I am no longer welcome or needed.
Sorry, but this was not our intention at all.  Let me run some numbers by you that may better help you understand the decision.

In 2011, only 352 beers out of 750 possible were entered in the Canadian region.  In 2012 that number was 541.  So the region does not fill.  Further, in 2011 only 75 beers out of 84 qualified for the 2nd round due to combining of categories, and of those 75 only 38 were submitted.  That's about 50% of those who qualified and 45% of those who could have.  In 2012, 84 qualified but only 53 (63%) were submitted.

We could have opened up the Canadian region to US members, but how would Canadians feel when their region was filled by US brewers in less than 24 hours, effectively blocking them out?

Further, when Gary says there are "vastly more AHA members in the U.S. than in Canada", it really is VASTLY more.  There are fewer than 250 AHA members across all of Canada, who in 2012 had a region to themselves which gives an average of 3+ slots per Canadian member.  There are twice as many non-US members outside of Canada.  Compare that to the 10 US regions for roughly 35,000 members, for an average of less than 0.25 slots per member in 2012.  We serve more members by moving the site to the US than by leaving it in Canada.

If you want to discuss ideas for how we can increase participation in a Canadian first round site and increase Canadian membership in the AHA let me know.  I would certainly entertain ideas for how we can bring a first round site back to Canada and make it as successful as it can be, but that has to take into consideration the problems we're facing.  And unless we can figure out a way to drastically increase the speed of judging without sacrificing quality for both the first and second rounds there are limits to how fast we can expand the competition.  We can't increase the entries at first round sites because many of them are stressed at 750.  And we can't increase the number of first round sites because the second round can't handle a massive increase in the number of entries there either.

Getting more judges everywhere is our best solution, and hopefully the recent changes to the BJCP program will help with that, but that will take time to build the numbers we need and it is out of the AHA's control.

I'm happy to talk about this more, so let me know if you have any questions.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: akr71 on January 29, 2013, 05:57:12 AM
Just for the sake of my own curiosity how difficult is it to ship beer across the border?  Does a lot of it get held up?  I've never shipped any internationally before.
I have shipped internationally (and I'm Canadian) - usually just swapping homebrews, but I have entered the odd contest.  It is a real PITA.  Besides the higher courier fees, you have to fill our NAFTA paperwork and if you state that it is alcohol, you have basically guaranteed it will not get delivered (and may not get sent back to you either).

It is far easier to stretch the truth a little on the paperwork and claim the contents as 'glass collectibles-gift'  I had a guy send me his beer the States who labeled it 'personal belongings-underwear & socks' - the guy worked at a hotel  ;) What customs agent is going to poke through someones dirty underwear...

Not everyone is comfortable with such creative descriptions though.

BTW - Hi Tony!  Seeya back over at the Brewnosers.org   8)
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 29, 2013, 06:45:14 AM
If you want to discuss ideas for how we can increase participation in a Canadian first round site and increase Canadian membership in the AHA let me know...
Tom,
I'm wondering if there is a reason why all first round judging sites are the same size. It seems like if Canadians want to organize a first round, but there are relatively few Canadian members, it would be fine to add a 12th site in Canada with a lower entry limit (like 200 instead of 750). I realize it would increase final round judging and that's another matter, it just seems like logistically it would be OK to have a 1st round site accepting less than 750 entries and that would allow Canadians a site without the burden of a 12th full-size site. Perhaps there is something I'm not thinking of.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Hokerer on January 29, 2013, 07:41:07 AM
Tom,
I'm wondering if there is a reason why all first round judging sites are the same size. It seems like if Canadians want to organize a first round, but there are relatively few Canadian members, it would be fine to add a 12th site in Canada with a lower entry limit (like 200 instead of 750).

Wouldn't that be sort of unfair to everyone entering in a US region?  That is, it'd be a lot easier to place high when you're only competing against 200 entries vs 750 (divided by number of categories, of course).
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: markaberrant on January 29, 2013, 07:59:05 AM
Based on our growth plans, we were expecting to be at or near 750 entries in Canada this year, and had been preparing as such.

We've had a few US entrants over the years inquire about entering the Canadian Qualifier.  We were open to exploring this idea.

We also proposed promoting the Canadian Qualifier as the "International" site for all international entries.  I don't believe there have been too many historically, but likely could have increased this if folks were made aware.

We also suggested that if say we only accepted 500 entries (2/3 of 750), then only gold and silver winners (2/3) would advance to 2nd round.

Not saying I have all the answers, but these were some ideas put forth.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: phillamb168 on January 29, 2013, 08:45:35 AM
Just to say, Ali has done a good job setting up BJCP-y things on this side of the pond; perhaps eventually we could also see a true 'international' turn-in site in Bristol?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 29, 2013, 10:21:30 AM

Really nice, thorough reply.  Thanks Tom.  A lot of stuff I wasn't aware of in there, and while I want everyone involved (it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot) it seems like the current rules are fair for almost everyone, and provides equal playing field to all outside the country.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: bluesman on January 29, 2013, 10:45:45 AM

Getting more judges everywhere is our best solution, and hopefully the recent changes to the BJCP program will help with that, but that will take time to build the numbers we need and it is out of the AHA's control.


Agreed Tom. One of the bottlenecks at this point is the limited judging pool. We need to increase the number of judges in an effort to be able to accommodate the increasing demand for entry into the competition. The BJCP is a limited resource and has done a very fine job of making ends meet with the national competition so far, but there is a limited number of judges.

It's my hope that as AHA or BJCP members, we can all work together to help further this cause by recruiting/training more judges. With a larger judging pool, we will be able to accommodate more entries into the competition.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 29, 2013, 10:54:41 AM
It's my hope that as AHA or BJCP members, we can all work together to help further this cause by recruiting/training more judges. With a larger judging pool, we will be able to accommodate more entries into the competition.

I sort of agree, but I think we've done the first part - recruit more judges - rather well.  In fact I would say that lately I haven't even bothered to recruit more judges as they are just put off by the wait list.

I recently signed up to help grade BJCP exams, and I hope others do too. 

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 29, 2013, 11:48:37 AM

Really nice, thorough reply.  Thanks Tom.  A lot of stuff I wasn't aware of in there, and while I want everyone involved (it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot) it seems like the current rules are fair for almost everyone, and provides equal playing field to all outside the country.
If by equal, you meant virtually eliminated, then yes, you have done an excellent job.  It's cost prohibitive, a royal pain in the ass, and pretty much a roulette wheel at customs, to bother with 1st round entries out of this country.  I understand that you have your reasons, but there's no sense sugar coating the end result.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: morticaixavier on January 29, 2013, 12:00:01 PM

Really nice, thorough reply.  Thanks Tom.  A lot of stuff I wasn't aware of in there, and while I want everyone involved (it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot) it seems like the current rules are fair for almost everyone, and provides equal playing field to all outside the country.
If by equal, you meant virtually eliminated, then yes, you have done an excellent job.  It's cost prohibitive, a royal pain in the ass, and pretty much a roulette wheel at customs, to bother with 1st round entries out of this country.  I understand that you have your reasons, but there's no sense sugar coating the end result.

I'm not sure that you can really lay the blame for international shipping law at the feet of the AHA. and it seems like that is really what it comes down to. If I want to enter a contest in the UK or even Canada I would have to deal with exactly the same thing (I live in the USA).
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 29, 2013, 12:00:31 PM
We also suggested that if say we only accepted 500 entries (2/3 of 750), then only gold and silver winners (2/3) would advance to 2nd round.
This is what I was thinking. If it was 250, then only gold winners would advance. That would keep the 'odds' fair.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 29, 2013, 12:03:56 PM
(it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot)
Trouble is - there are currently 750*11 sites = 8250 entry slots and over 30,000 members
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 29, 2013, 12:13:53 PM

Really nice, thorough reply.  Thanks Tom.  A lot of stuff I wasn't aware of in there, and while I want everyone involved (it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot) it seems like the current rules are fair for almost everyone, and provides equal playing field to all outside the country.
If by equal, you meant virtually eliminated, then yes, you have done an excellent job.  It's cost prohibitive, a royal pain in the ass, and pretty much a roulette wheel at customs, to bother with 1st round entries out of this country.  I understand that you have your reasons, but there's no sense sugar coating the end result.

I'm not sure that you can really lay the blame for international shipping law at the feet of the AHA. and it seems like that is really what it comes down to. If I want to enter a contest in the UK or even Canada I would have to deal with exactly the same thing (I live in the USA).
I'm not blaming the AHA for international shipping laws.  I am clarifying the end result of removing the Canadian 1st round site.  It's not that big of a deal to me not to be included in the NHC, but puts a lot of people off the AHA to say the least.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 29, 2013, 12:15:17 PM

Really nice, thorough reply.  Thanks Tom.  A lot of stuff I wasn't aware of in there, and while I want everyone involved (it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot) it seems like the current rules are fair for almost everyone, and provides equal playing field to all outside the country.
If by equal, you meant virtually eliminated, then yes, you have done an excellent job.  It's cost prohibitive, a royal pain in the ass, and pretty much a roulette wheel at customs, to bother with 1st round entries out of this country.  I understand that you have your reasons, but there's no sense sugar coating the end result.

1.  *I* did not do it.

2.  ...ya know what?  nevermind.  I get that you're upset, so I'll drop it.  Best of luck. 
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 29, 2013, 12:23:11 PM
I understand that YOU did not make this decision.  I just wanted to define the terms 'fair' and 'equal', which you did use.

...ya know what?  Finish what you had to say.  I'm not upset, and nothing you're going to say on this subject will change that.

Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: theDarkSide on January 29, 2013, 12:34:14 PM
This is not a smart remark, but I wonder if we will look back someday and say, "That was the day the CHA ( Canandian Homebrew Association ) was founded".

Unfortunately, the AHA has to address certain issues and someone is going to get the short end.  I'm sure one of these days we'll see the rule outlawing "virtual" homebrew clubs for COTY awards. 

We could always annex Canada  ;)
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 29, 2013, 12:40:21 PM
Several years back the Brewer of the Year was from Japan. Homebrewing is not legal there, and shipping would be more expensive.

Just saying.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 29, 2013, 12:58:21 PM
(it would be great if our membership came with one guaranteed NHC entry slot)
Trouble is - there are currently 750*11 sites = 8250 entry slots and over 30,000 members

yeah we talked about this last year.  And with 1735 first round entrants last year, that's what, 7% of membership at the time?  I could be wrong, but even tripling that % seems unlikely to me. 
But OK, let's assume we have to keep the current cap.  Would anyone truly object to allowing 1-2 days where any current member could enter their one entry, until the competition was filled?  And if not filled, opened up to non-members/members registering more entries?  Like a GABF AHA member pre-sale.

Once the judge situation supports it, I'd also like to see only two beers per category moving on to the Final Round.  This allows 50% growth, but no change in Final Round entries.  But maybe that's not reasonable - I'm not Janis, and I don't know how much more she can do!   :o  Maybe 5-6 new locations is too much for one to organize.

On that note, I'm curious what Janis thinks the future holds for this competition...

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 29, 2013, 01:56:45 PM

We could always annex Canada  ;)


This is already more true than perhaps you realize, my friend.

Perhaps keeping the Canadian first round as is for a few weeks and then any left over space
could be passed along to our American friends could be arranged. And like was proposed, only
gold and silver with a predetermined score disqualification level set, would limit the entries into the final round.

If as was said, a complaint was that not enough entries from Canada made it into the second round, then how is changing the site to the US with a larger second round entry base going to lessen the load on the
judges?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 29, 2013, 02:05:43 PM
If as was said, a complaint was that not enough entries from Canada made it into the second round, then how is changing the site to the US with a larger second round entry base going to lessen the load on the
judges?
I think it had more to do with 250 Canadian members having their own site while 29,750 US members shared 10 sites (3000 members / site). Unfortunately though, fairness is a matter of personnal perspective.
 
Like my old boss said "It's so fair it's not fair to anybody"
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Hokerer on January 29, 2013, 02:16:10 PM
I understand that YOU did not make this decision.  I just wanted to define the terms 'fair' and 'equal', which you did use.

As far as defining "equal", what dawg said was "provides equal playing field to all outside the country" and that is an absolutely true statement.  Brewers in Canada are now exactly equal to brewers in the UK, France, and everywhere else outside of the US.  Prior to the change, brewers in Canada had an advantage over their other international entrants.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 29, 2013, 02:38:07 PM
  Brewers in Canada are now exactly equal to brewers in the UK, France, and everywhere else outside of the US.  Prior to the change, brewers in Canada had an advantage over their other international entrants.

How many AHA members are there from those other countries compared to Canada and participate in AHA activities ?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 29, 2013, 02:39:32 PM
  Brewers in Canada are now exactly equal to brewers in the UK, France, and everywhere else outside of the US.  Prior to the change, brewers in Canada had an advantage over their other international entrants.

How many AHA members are there from those other countries compared to Canada and participate in AHA activities ?
Tom said twice as many in all other countries. Probably not many participate. 
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 29, 2013, 02:46:59 PM
Probably not many participate.

Which would be expected given their geography. That's why Canada should be given preference in a way.
We share a common border with more Canadians participating in AHA events and also given the fact that
we had a qualifying competition already in place and have had so for quite a while.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 29, 2013, 03:10:33 PM
I understand that YOU did not make this decision.  I just wanted to define the terms 'fair' and 'equal', which you did use.

As far as defining "equal", what dawg said was "provides equal playing field to all outside the country" and that is an absolutely true statement.  Brewers in Canada are now exactly equal to brewers in the UK, France, and everywhere else outside of the US.  Prior to the change, brewers in Canada had an advantage over their other international entrants.
Yes, and Americans had an even greater advantage over us and the rest of the planet. 

I didn't say what he said was incorrect.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 29, 2013, 04:23:56 PM
we can't risk a situation where we have the 2nd round judging lasting for more than one day or even for going late on a single day.


Why not? Why not have the second round go over a couple of weekends like any amount of local competitions do sometimes?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: garc_mall on January 29, 2013, 05:04:29 PM
we can't risk a situation where we have the 2nd round judging lasting for more than one day or even for going late on a single day.


Why not? Why not have the second round go over a couple of weekends like any amount of local competitions do sometimes?

Because most of the judges at the Second round are from out of town, and are giving up their first day of NHC to judge beers. We can't force them to give up the entire weekend, and most of them aren't going to show up over a week in advance to judge.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 29, 2013, 05:45:14 PM
we can't risk a situation where we have the 2nd round judging lasting for more than one day or even for going late on a single day.


Why not? Why not have the second round go over a couple of weekends like any amount of local competitions do sometimes?

Because most of the judges at the Second round are from out of town, and are giving up their first day of NHC to judge beers. We can't force them to give up the entire weekend, and most of them aren't going to show up over a week in advance to judge.

This ain't a local competition. Most judges have traveled and then give up the first day of technical session to judge. That is a lot to ask as it is.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2013, 01:22:28 AM
Sorry it took me so long to respond, I spent the last two days on jury duty (I was called twice, did not end up hearing a case) and now I'm behind on several things.  That aside, ok, lots of comments, but many of the responses have it exactly right.

I'm wondering if there is a reason why all first round judging sites are the same size. It seems like if Canadians want to organize a first round, but there are relatively few Canadian members, it would be fine to add a 12th site in Canada with a lower entry limit (like 200 instead of 750).
Wouldn't that be sort of unfair to everyone entering in a US region?  That is, it'd be a lot easier to place high when you're only competing against 200 entries vs 750 (divided by number of categories, of course).
Correct - those that entered smaller regions would have an advantage and that is fundamentally unfair. If we expanded the number of regions to any place that could take 250 entries (Canadian or not) we would get a lot more entries, but we would end up with more in the second round and we can't handle that.

This has nothing to do with the ability of the Canadian region to deal with the number of entries (they can), and everything to do with the distribution of membership.  Even if we had 50 sites in the US that could handle 750 entries each, the second round could not handle 4200 entries.  Right now we are comfortable with 11 first round sites.  That will go up in the future once we are sure that we can handle the growth of the competition, but we can't expand in a Big Bang like fashion.

If we had 20,000 Canadian members and 20,000 US members, the conference would probably bounce back and forth between countries every year and the first round sites would be evenly split.

Because most of the judges at the Second round are from out of town, and are giving up their first day of NHC to judge beers. We can't force them to give up the entire weekend, and most of them aren't going to show up over a week in advance to judge.
This ain't a local competition. Most judges have traveled and then give up the first day of technical session to judge. That is a lot to ask as it is.
Yes and yes.  This will be my 9th conference, 8th consecutive.  I have been to conferences when the competition dragged into the second day, and let me tell you it sucks for judges.  You expect them to fly across the country, pay for a hotel, and spend two days judging beers while the majority of people are in educational seminars that judges also paid for but can't attend?  Seriously?  As hard as it is to get good judges, they get a lot of perks to participate in the judging.  Well, maybe some perks.  Ok, free breakfast and lunch, plus an awesome judging seminar, nothing else. ;)  But the judging seminar is usually excellent.

We discussed many many options before making these decisions.  We could cut the number of entries that get forwarded to the second round (only golds for 250 entry competitions), but this was roundly rejected.  Many 3rd place finishers in the first round win gold in the 2nd, and let's face it, I've had a beer get a 45 in the first round and a 23 in the second.  Judging is inconsistent.  The 2nd round has some of the best, most experienced judges in the world, and the more high quality beers we can put in front of them the better the competition will be.  Which tells me that my 45 first round beer wasn't really that good I guess. :)

Really, we want the most people to participate in the competition as possible, and we talked about a whole bunch of ways to make that happen and settled on what we thought were the best options.  It would be great if we could double or triple the number of entries per first round site, but there aren't too many regions who can handle 1500 or 2250 entries in a weekend.  We considered moving to a three round format, but that would push things back so the first round would be in January or so.  We talked about an MCAB format, but we want it to be all inclusive.  A lot of people who really care about this spent a lot of time trying to come up with the best solutions for the most members possible.  The solutions we arrived at are not ideal for everyone but we felt they were in the best interest of the competition this year.

It was not our intention to ostracize our Canadian members.  I would hope that was obvious but I guess it bears saying.  Communication with the Canadian region could have been handled better.  I take 100% responsibility for that.  Period.

If you really want to improve the situation, and I know you all do, become a judge and then go judge the competition.   It will help us solve the numbers problems at the first and second round judging sites, and let us get through the number of entries in a reasonable time so we can expand the number of entries permitted.  I would love if we could remove all caps and let every member enter as many times as they want.  But for that we need a LOT more judges.  Or a lot fewer members I guess, but no one thinks that's a good idea, do they? ;)

I welcome any constructive suggestions to help improve the situation for 2014 given the very real limitations we face.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: phillamb168 on January 30, 2013, 03:36:01 AM
  Brewers in Canada are now exactly equal to brewers in the UK, France, and everywhere else outside of the US.  Prior to the change, brewers in Canada had an advantage over their other international entrants.

How many AHA members are there from those other countries compared to Canada and participate in AHA activities ?

I can tell you with certainty, as the founder of the Paris Homebrewers Club, that we have, in France, a minimum of 100 people that would LOVE to enter the competition, but due to shipping, etc, cannot.

That's why we don't participate - it's impossible to do so.

The larger conversation here, as I see it, is not "why doesn't the AHA expand," but rather "why doesn't the AHA help other countries/regions found their own homebrewers' associations?"

Of course the interest, for me, at least, in entering the AHA contests is that that's where the real innovation is. So my ideal would be, 'local' associations (EMEA, NA, CA, SA, AP) would have their own competitions with the winners being sent to a global "World Homebrewers' Association" with a mega-conference in some part of the world every year.

Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 30, 2013, 03:55:40 AM

It was not our intention to ostracize our Canadian members.  I would hope that was obvious but I guess it bears saying.

Removing the first round will certainly do that for some members here as we perceive that we are being singled out. The AHA has to remember that it isn't only a region that was affected, but virtually the entire country.

I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

Perhaps an AHA membership as a prerequisite to entering the competition could be adopted rather than the partial open concept. There must be some sort of solution to this problem that a little more brainstorming could solve.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 06:06:04 AM
So if we had 750 entries, we would still have our Canadian site?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 30, 2013, 06:36:19 AM
So if we had 750 entries, we would still have our Canadian site?
No. It has more to do with distribution of members (30,000 US vs 250 Canadian) than ability to fill the site with entries.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 09:01:05 AM
Maybe it's time for a candid discussion of why this is.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: morticaixavier on January 30, 2013, 09:12:58 AM
Maybe it's time for a candid discussion of why this is.

because the AHA is a US based, US focused lobbying organization/affinity group?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 09:17:53 AM
I'd say follow the money.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 09:34:12 AM
Most judges have traveled and then give up the first day of technical session to judge. That is a lot to ask as it is.

Yep.  That's one of the reasons I no longer judge second round.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 10:08:45 AM
I'd say follow the money.

Would you explain that?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 30, 2013, 10:16:13 AM
I'd say follow the money.
Money is always a consideration, but the AHA is a nonprofit organization. Just saying.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: garc_mall on January 30, 2013, 10:24:41 AM
Perhaps an AHA membership as a prerequisite to entering the competition could be adopted rather than the partial open concept. There must be some sort of solution to this problem that a little more brainstorming could solve.

An AHA membership is required to enter the competition. The only part that is partially open is that Members can buy a guest pass (usually used for SO) to the conference.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: brewmanator on January 30, 2013, 10:33:53 AM
Perhaps an AHA membership as a prerequisite to entering the competition could be adopted rather than the partial open concept. There must be some sort of solution to this problem that a little more brainstorming could solve.

An AHA membership is required to enter the competition. The only part that is partially open is that Members can buy a guest pass (usually used for SO) to the conference.

Not true. 

AHA membership is not required to enter this competition.  Non-members just have a more expensive entry fee.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: udubdawg on January 30, 2013, 10:36:48 AM
exactly, membership is not required to enter this competition.

On that note, Tom or anyone who knows:  What % of entries come from non-members?  $15, now $17, is a lot to pay to enter one beer...Just curious as I assume members make up the great majority of entries.

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: bluesman on January 30, 2013, 10:53:48 AM
I'll say this again because I think it warrants repeating. If you want to help the AHA out with the increasing demand and future success of the NHC, then begin your journey to become a BJCP judge and join us in judging this awesome competition. I've judged the first and second rounds of the last two years NHC's, and plan to do so again this year in NYC and Philly. The more judges we can recruit, the better off we'll be, for the impending growth of this national competition.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: AmandaK on January 30, 2013, 11:16:49 AM
I'll say this again because I think it warrants repeating. If you want to help the AHA out with the increasing demand and future success of the NHC, then begin your journey to become a BJCP judge and join us in judging this awesome competition. I've judged the first and second rounds of the last two years NHC's, and plan to do so again this year in NYC and Philly. The more judges we can recruit, the better off we'll be, for the impending growth of this national competition.

Exactly.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 11:20:58 AM
I'd say follow the money.

Would you explain that?
What are the benefits to foreign members to have an AHA membership (other than zymurgy)?  Because it appears that is one of the major problems here.  The ALES comp was moving to full capacity, and was well judged and well run, those don't appear to be reasons not to have the site anymore.  If foreign members are funneling money to the AHA without the same benefits, it's not much of an incentive....

...but, ultimately, as stated above, you are hurting for BJCP judges.  As crazy as this sounds, in the long run, it may have been more beneficial to your members to have more sites in Canada and open to the US entries.  I would bet that we have a large pool of qualified judges available to handle it at this end.  Because obviously, you are backing yourselves into a corner with the disproportional growth rates of brewers/judges.  Killing ALES is just a symptom of a bigger problem that may not go away so easily.  My 2c.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: hubie on January 30, 2013, 11:51:37 AM
because the AHA is a US based, US focused lobbying organization/affinity group?

I belong to several professional societies that have "American" as the first word in their acronyms, and at various points are now or have previously belonged to other societies that are set up to represent and advocate for their members, promote and advance their craft, etc.  None of them, as far as I have ever been aware, would adopt this stance, even in spirit, on issues, and they all welcome Canadian and other foreign membership.  I would be very disappointed if this is the strongest argument used to defend eliminating the Canadian entry site.

Given the size and growth rate of the AHA, they might want to consider doing what other national organizations of this size does and go to regional divisions.  There is clearly a geographic element to the issue of entry sites and this is the kind of thing that is easier handled within a division.

I can understand the challenges Tom has put forth, but I think the resolution is short-sighted.  Canada does present a unique situation, but it sounds like they have a strong and motivated support system and put forth some reasonable suggestions to consider.  I don't buy into the argument about an unfair statistical advantage either, particularly since the region was expected to fill their slots.  Sticking with the fairness issue, if you're going to have regional competitions in the first round, then you should require people to enter their particular region to keep people from shopping for "weaker" regions or homebrew clubs from flooding multiple regions, etc.

If one wanted to argue slot statistics, I think the need to cap the number of entries is more telling.  Based on the average, it looks like each person who entered the competition entered about five beers.  I would be interested in hearing what the median entry per person was as well.  I recall reading that one of the medalists entered something like 50 beers!  It will be interesting to see whether this increases the number of people entering this year.  The Ninkasi goes to the person with the highest point total, but I think they ought to give mention to the person with the highest points per entry.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: morticaixavier on January 30, 2013, 12:07:03 PM
because the AHA is a US based, US focused lobbying organization/affinity group?

I belong to several professional societies that have "American" as the first word in their acronyms, and at various points are now or have previously belonged to other societies that are set up to represent and advocate for their members, promote and advance their craft, etc.  None of them, as far as I have ever been aware, would adopt this stance, even in spirit, on issues, and they all welcome Canadian and other foreign membership.  I would be very disappointed if this is the strongest argument used to defend eliminating the Canadian entry site.


The question I was answering with the above quoted post was why the membership is skewed so heavily towards US residents. I was not suggesting that this was the reason the canadian site was eliminated. I think the reasoning behind that has been clearly set forth in this thread and on the document posted on the AHA website. I was merely saying that I suspect the reason that the overwhelming majority of AHA members are US residents is because the AHA is primarily concerned with homebrewing issues in the US. And the AHA DOES welcome Canadian and other non-US residents. However the benefits to non-US residents may not justify the expense of a membership to as many.

It seems like this is a mountain out of a molehill issue. It should be a fairly easy task to organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 30, 2013, 12:29:43 PM
organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Brilliant ... perhaps
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2013, 02:07:30 PM
...but, ultimately, as stated above, you are hurting for BJCP judges.  As crazy as this sounds, in the long run, it may have been more beneficial to your members to have more sites in Canada and open to the US entries.  I would bet that we have a large pool of qualified judges available to handle it at this end.  Because obviously, you are backing yourselves into a corner with the disproportional growth rates of brewers/judges.  Killing ALES is just a symptom of a bigger problem that may not go away so easily.  My 2c.
We haven't killed anyone or anything.  The competition is no longer a 1st round site for the NHC this year, but that doesn't prevent them from holding the competition at all.  In fact I would be disappointed if it were cancelled since the existence of the competition was not solely as a qualifier for the 2nd round like the 1st round regions are in the US.

In the future we could consider returning to the ALES competition and even adding more Canadian sites - why not?  If we could add enough judging centers so that everyone could enter all of their beers we could have 50 Canadian sites, I don't mind.  But that doesn't help with the limitations on the number of entries we can handle in the second round. 

I can understand the challenges Tom has put forth, but I think the resolution is short-sighted.  Canada does present a unique situation, but it sounds like they have a strong and motivated support system and put forth some reasonable suggestions to consider.  I don't buy into the argument about an unfair statistical advantage either, particularly since the region was expected to fill their slots.  Sticking with the fairness issue, if you're going to have regional competitions in the first round, then you should require people to enter their particular region to keep people from shopping for "weaker" regions or homebrew clubs from flooding multiple regions, etc.
We used to divide things by region and everyone had to enter their beers in whatever region they lived in.  The end result of this though, was that you had some regions that filled rapidly if only because they have so many members, and some that did not fill at all.  Letting everyone enter wherever eliminates this problem, and is viewed as more fair.  You can try to cherry pick a region you may think is "weak", but I doubt that will work to your advantage in the end.

Let me emphasize that this is not a resolution to the problem.  It is what we have decided to do for this year, and there will be additional changes in the future as we try to deal with the growth.  Not everyone will like all of the changes we make, I accept that.  But we are doing and will continue to do what we think is in the best interest of the competition and our members.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 02:26:07 PM
I didn't mean killed as in terminated, the ALES competition will clearly go on.  But it is killed as a NHC first round site.  There's no sugar coating of that.

I don't see how you'll ever return to this site, or any other one in Canada as it appears one of the major criteria of removing it was the lack of AHA members in Canada.  This move won't help.  The rest of these explanations/excuses are window dressing and won't solve that problem. 

You basically decided that you are keeping your 2nd round quotas for the US based on concentration of AHA members.  And that's fine, it's your organization, but there's no sense pretending what happened was because of Canadians wanting to bypass ALES, or lack of entries.  Those aren't well founded arguments.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: a10t2 on January 30, 2013, 02:29:27 PM
I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

It may not solve anything, but it will help. A couple hundred more brewers will have entries in the first round this year than in the past, and a couple dozen more in the second.

The Ninkasi goes to the person with the highest point total, but I think they ought to give mention to the person with the highest points per entry.

I agree that there ought to be the individual equivalent of the Gambrinus Award. The problem is that it would end up being a multi-way tie every year, but obviously we're embracing creative tie-breaking rules. ;)
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 02:32:14 PM
organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Brilliant ... perhaps
I'm not sure there's 10 clubs in the country with any amount of organization, let alone at the borders.  Pretty hard to do.  I'm not even sure about the legalities either.  That's the way it goes...brew on.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 02:34:33 PM
I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

It may not solve anything, but it will help. A couple hundred more brewers will have entries in the first round this year than in the past, and a couple dozen more in the second.
ALES was projecting a full round, so that's not so true.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: morticaixavier on January 30, 2013, 02:36:23 PM
organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Brilliant ... perhaps
I'm not sure there's 10 clubs in the country with any amount of organization, let alone at the borders.  Pretty hard to do.  I'm not even sure about the legalities either.  That's the way it goes...brew on.

seems to me there are 100's of clubs with at least enough organization to put a local comp together.

Really you only need 1 club if they are willing and the legalities allow.

just saying there are answers. They may require a bit of creative manuevering. But you can bet Tom and the crew have been doing plenty of that over the years here in the States as well.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 30, 2013, 02:42:14 PM
I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

It may not solve anything, but it will help. A couple hundred more brewers will have entries in the first round this year than in the past, and a couple dozen more in the second.


I can see from all the discussion here that perhaps there is hope for next year.

As for your answer to my question, I fail to see how adding a couple dozen more entries into the second round helps lessen the load on the judges. I know we are talking about a minor detail here though, and perhaps the answer from Tom will bear fruit next year.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: a10t2 on January 30, 2013, 02:46:01 PM
Really you only need 1 club if they are willing and the legalities allow.

It doesn't have to be an organized event either. Something like 80% of Canada's population lives within an hour of the border. Lots of people already drive farther than that with their entries.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 30, 2013, 04:19:28 PM
Really you only need 1 club if they are willing and the legalities allow.

It doesn't have to be an organized event either. Something like 80% of Canada's population lives within an hour of the border. Lots of people already drive farther than that with their entries.
We drove the clubs entries down to Indianapolis the last 2 years. 5 hours from here. Have family in the area.

Indy is no longer a first round (no cries about that?), but a club member will take the entries to Zanesville as he has family there.

Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2013, 04:58:28 PM
I don't see how you'll ever return to this site, or any other one in Canada as it appears one of the major criteria of removing it was the lack of AHA members in Canada.  This move won't help.  The rest of these explanations/excuses are window dressing and won't solve that problem. 
First, they are reasons, not excuses.  You may not like the reasons, but it was not a decision we made and then later tried to justify.

Second, I can see several ways in which the 1st round would return to the ALES competition, some more likely than others and some could make it as early as next year.  Maybe this will make more sense if we talk about  . . .

Constraints:
1.  The number of entries we can handle in the second round.  We currently set that at 924, or the number of entries passed forward from 11 first round judging centers.
2.  The number of entries each judging center can handle in the 1st round.  We currently set that number at 750 and keep all of them the same as a matter of fairness.

So given:
(a) we are only able to have 11 first round sites, and
(b) we are able to find 11 sites in the US, and
(c) all of the sites sell out easily, and
(d) 10.8/11 AHA members live in the US,
Therefore: we decided to move the Canadian site to the US.

Note, the relative number of members in each location is only one factor that was considered.  It only appears to be the main consideration because the other considerations are what they are this year.  If any of those givens change we could easily add a site back to Canada.

For example, if we change constraint 1 and decide we can handle an additional 84 entries in the second round that changes (a) to 12 first round centers.  If we are unable to find 12 sites in the US (b), the ALES competition would be my first choice for the 12th region.  Given the expansion of the conference and the expected expansion of the judging pool for the 2nd round, and the difficulties in finding judging centers in the US, I think it is a very real possibility that this would happen.

Or it could be that (b) we can't find 11 places in the US where we feel we can get the beers judged well, then we would want to move one to Canada again.  Given the struggles we (and by we I mean Janis) often have in finding good judging centers in the US, and those who are willing to do it year after year, and who are far enough from other judging centers to not impact their judging pool, I think you could see this happening.  The US sites shuffle all of the time, moving from place to place, and that mostly has to do with local interest and ability to judge the beers during the given time frame.

As another example, if we change constraint 2 and decide each 1st round center can handle 1500 entries instead of 750 (not likely, but incremental changes are possible as local judge pools expand) then we would have increased the number of entries in the first round without changing anything in the second round.  If we feel these are not likely to sell out rapidly (c), then there is no pressure for entries in the US and having a Canadian judging center becomes an easy option again.

Less likely scenarios:
If interest in the competition falls to the point where regions are not filling (c), then we could move a region back to Canada.

If the levels of Canadian members increase (or US levels fall) to the point where there are roughly 1/11 (d), then I would certainly push for a Canadian site.  If every Canadian joined the AHA then I would push for every 1st round site to be moved there, provided there were enough judges and sites to hold them.

You basically decided that you are keeping your 2nd round quotas for the US based on concentration of AHA members.  And that's fine, it's your organization, but there's no sense pretending what happened was because of Canadians wanting to bypass ALES, or lack of entries.  Those aren't well founded arguments.
Those are not the main reasons, but they are still reasons - like it or not, there has been interest from some Canadian members in entering at US sites.  Brewers in Vancouver can drive their entries to Seattle.  It won't work for everyone, but it will work for some.  As for lack of entries, it is not just the number that are entered, it is the number that are sent to the second round.  Less than 2/3 made it this year, and while I understand a couple were held up by customs that does not account for all of them by a long shot.  That is a consistent issue that is not affected by whether the site gets 750 entries or not.

All of these things played into the decision.  I don't mind that you don't think they are well founded, but they are not arguments, it is reality.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 30, 2013, 06:37:48 PM
I see a lot of circular arguments.  ALES is always the second choice in-case the US is unable to handle the load.  Under constraints, your given points re-enforce what I said previous.  This is based on AHA membership density.  And that isn't going to change unless paid dues give some benefit to Canadian members.

The thought that there was a significant portion of brewers who wanted to enter US competitions and bypass ALES is just not a good argument, regardless of some people living at the border saying that it is.
 
The 2/3 2nd round participation likely isn't going to change greatly, so you need to fish or cut bait with us on that one.

Everything says to me that you'll be interested in using us again when it's convenient for you, or when you start seeing more dues coming in.  I understand the dues argument.  At any rate, it's a done deal, and I don't see this coming back, nor should it not without a long term commitment from both sides on certain issues.  ALES has to do some work on this end as well.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 30, 2013, 11:36:08 PM
The thought that there was a significant portion of brewers who wanted to enter US competitions and bypass ALES is just not a good argument, regardless of some people living at the border saying that it is.
So responding to the stated desires of our members is a bad thing?  Noted.

I've explained things as best I can.  You are welcome to reject the truth that you don't like.  Let me know if you have anything new you'd like to talk about instead of rehashing the same discussion over and over.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tony on January 31, 2013, 03:33:18 AM
The thought that there was a significant portion of brewers who wanted to enter US competitions and bypass ALES is just not a good argument, regardless of some people living at the border saying that it is.
So responding to the stated desires of our members is a bad thing?  Noted.


I have it on good authority that it was only ONE person who asked that they be allowed to enter the US sites not the many stated. Ask Janis.

And no, it isn't bad that you respond to the desires of the membership if there are enough to complain about, but again, I doubt many asked for the removal of the Canadian site. It seems to me to be a patchwork decision for short term relief that I hope will be addressed in the current year.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2013, 11:17:53 AM
I have it on good authority that it was only ONE person who asked that they be allowed to enter the US sites not the many stated. Ask Janis.
I'll believe you that there is one who asked Janis about this.  That person may or may not be one of the two from Vancouver who approached me at the NHC in Seattle with the question of why they could not just enter here.  I told them it was not my decision (at the time I was not the chair of the competition committee, I knew them from previous conferences and I was one of the local Seattle NHC organizers).  Gary also said he was asked, but this may or may not be one of the same people who asked me or Janis.  This let us know that there was at least some Canadians who wanted to enter at US sites.

As far as I know, no one asked for the removal of the Canadian site - no one in Canada, no one outside of Canada.  No one has said anyone ever did.  But as was explained, given the imbalance in entries available vs. membership levels in the two countries and given the availability of enough sites in the US to judge all of the first round beers, all 11 sites are in the US this year.  If next year there are more first round sites needed than we can accommodate in the US we will ask ALES to host again.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: giant_macaskill on January 31, 2013, 12:58:40 PM
Your sarcasm is hilarious. 

On one hand you are claiming that this decision to remove the Canadian site was made in great part for the MAJORITY of AHA members in the US.  Fine.  Yet you also proudly claim to be listening to a few mystery men in Vancouver in making this decision, who are clearly a MINORITY of members.  So you selectively listen to groups of members who suit your needs to kill the ALES competition as an AHA site.  Hypocrisy noted.

The only valid and continuous argument here is the lack of AHA members in Canada.  It would be better off to admit this, and start addressing that problem, instead of kicking this can further down the road.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2013, 01:26:27 PM
On one hand you are claiming that this decision to remove the Canadian site was made in great part for the MAJORITY of AHA members in the US.  Fine.  Yet you also proudly claim to be listening to a few mystery men in Vancouver in making this decision, who are clearly a MINORITY of members.  So you selectively listen to groups of members who suit your needs to kill the ALES competition as an AHA site.  Hypocrisy noted.
This is the right decision for the 99.4% of our members who do not live in Canada, and for at least some of the 0.6% of our members who do live in Canada.  They simply add to the majority of our members for whom this is the right decision.  You've made clear that you don't think the fact that some Canadians want to enter in the US is a valid reason.  I don't agree.

The only valid and continuous argument here is the lack of AHA members in Canada.  It would be better off to admit this, and start addressing that problem, instead of kicking this can further down the road.
I have stated this repeatedly and even offered to help address it (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=14545.msg185091#msg185091).  What are you doing to help?
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 31, 2013, 01:33:31 PM
Your sarcasm is hilarious. 

He is a pretty funny guy. Not Hudecek funny, but pretty funny.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: tschmidlin on January 31, 2013, 01:48:48 PM
Your sarcasm is hilarious. 

He is a pretty funny guy. Not Hudecek funny, but pretty funny.
No one is as funny as a Hudecek, not even honorary ones like me. ;)
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: a10t2 on January 31, 2013, 01:49:50 PM
The only valid and continuous argument here is the lack of AHA members in Canada.  It would be better off to admit this, and start addressing that problem, instead of kicking this can further down the road.

The longer this thread goes on, the more trouble I'm having thinking of the lack of Canadian members as a problem. ;)
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Jimmy K on January 31, 2013, 01:57:34 PM
If this thread were an equation, I'd say we've reached the limit.
Title: Re: NHC competition site change.
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 31, 2013, 02:46:20 PM
Take off, eh?  You hoser.