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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: micsager on March 01, 2013, 04:31:50 PM

Title: Homebrew clubs
Post by: micsager on March 01, 2013, 04:31:50 PM
I know, weird topic for the growing pro board, but bare with me a second.........

In 2008, me and a fellow homebrewer started our local club.  The closest previously was over an hours drive away.  Since then, he has stopped coming to meetings, so I'm the only "founding member" left.  A little over a year ago, a LHBS opened in our town, and we are having meetings there, and we've grown from 5-6 guys, to 20-30 folks. 

But then last July, I got a Brewer's Notice, and am selling my beer.  Obvisiously, can't enter a BJCP sanctioned homebrew comp. 

Last month, I was elected President of our club, and I've been one of the officers since this clubs inception.

I think next January I will decline any of the officer positions, and just be a member. 

How many of you have remained part of the leadership of your clubs, once you went pro?  Does it really matter?  Am I being silly by even asking the question?

Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: tschmidlin on March 01, 2013, 05:30:46 PM
I've been taking a step back from all of the leadership positions in my clubs, but that was more because it was time to after the Seattle conference rather than because of my new job.  I don't think any of us can decide for you, it's a case by case thing.  I don't see any harm in continuing if you want to, but if you want to share the load then you should do so.  I think letting other people fill the roles helps the club, getting more people involved, as long as there are people who want to do the work rather than just wanting the title.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: denny on March 01, 2013, 05:39:09 PM
Mic, AFAIK, you can still enter comps if you want to as long as you brew at home rather than on a commercial system.  Granetd that in your case that might be a bit difficult to define.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: micsager on March 01, 2013, 06:19:53 PM
interesting Denny.  I thought I read somewhere htat the line was drawn at "equipment used to brew commercially."  And whil I use my same equipment for commercial as I did before, i think it's technically commercial equipment now. 

Tom, do you have a clue on this?  I think you're still chair of the Competition comittee, right?

Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: tschmidlin on March 01, 2013, 06:26:32 PM
I don't think this falls within the scope of the competition committee.  I could be wrong, but here is my take on it:

Your homebrew equipment is now commercial equipment.  Any beer brewed with it would be ineligible to enter competitions.  Further, IANAL, but I don't think you can brew on it for personal consumption any more - everything brewed on that system has to be reported to the appropriate regulatory agencies, whether it is sold or dumped.

If you have another setup that is not your commercial setup, then you could brew on that and still enter competitions.  I've got 10 gallons of IPA dry hopping in my bathroom right now, brewed at home.  And 150 gallons of other beer in the fermenters, brewed at Bluebird.  So I could enter my IPA in a homebrew competition, but not the other beer (unless it was for a commercial competition like the GABF, WBC, WABA, etc).
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: micsager on March 01, 2013, 06:32:23 PM
Thanks Tom. 

The inspector from the TTB told us we could still go with the 200 gallon limit.  But instead of "homebrew" it's called "personal use"  And I've included that in my Operations Report to the feds.  So far, no one has said a word.

Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: tschmidlin on March 01, 2013, 06:43:48 PM
Good to know you get the personal use beer (I seem to remember you mentioning that now).

Still, it's not homebrew.  How do you think people would feel if Beaux at Black Raven decided to enter some of his "personal use" beer in a homebrew competition? ;)  Clearly it's a grey area with your equipment, but I think it falls outside the rules, if not explicitly, then implicitly.  So if you still want to enter homebrew competitions I would brew on different equipment, either at your place or at some club member's.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: micsager on March 01, 2013, 06:48:43 PM
Yep.  That's what I was thinking too.  Maybe the biggest difference is I brew at least twice a week now.  Never did that much consistantly as a classic homebrewer.  And Brewing so often sure helps one get the process down to more of a sceince.  Which I know not everyone thinks is a good thing.   
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: denny on March 01, 2013, 09:15:13 PM

Yep.  That's what I was thinking too.  Maybe the biggest difference is I brew at least twice a week now.  Never did that much consistantly as a classic homebrewer.  And Brewing so often sure helps one get the process down to more of a sceince.  Which I know not everything thinks is a good thing.   

Yeah, that's what I was getting at.  If you had a separate setup for homebewing, I think you'd be OK.  But that would be kinda silly....
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: dcbc on March 02, 2013, 03:04:18 AM
Coulld he throw a cooler with a braid in the middle?  Would that be enough of a change without his having to buy all new equipment?  Just lawyering it a little.  Does it have to be a completely new setup, or just different enough?
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2013, 05:50:31 AM
Who knows?  It's up to him.  Part of me says if he changes the process that is really new.  Part of me says if he uses the same equipment at all it's not cool.  As was pointed out in another thread, to some extent competitions are based on the honor system.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: nateo on March 02, 2013, 02:18:14 PM
In collegiate cycling they let professionals compete. Obviously, they were really fast, and obviously, it really sucked to compete against them if you weren't a professional. So, I don't really think it's appropriate for probrewers to enter homebrew comps at all, regardless of what equipment they use.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: Jimmy K on March 02, 2013, 02:21:21 PM
Coulld he throw a cooler with a braid in the middle?  Would that be enough of a change without his having to buy all new equipment?  Just lawyering it a little.  Does it have to be a completely new setup, or just different enough?
Most competition rules I've seen say that beer made on commercial equipment is disqualified. If it were my competition, I'd say using any of the same setup is not good. This is more about perceived fairness for other brewers who are going to know that swapping out a mash tun doesn't significantly change the setup. It's hard to say what would be enough in this situation, but it would probably be safest to just find a brew buddy, use his/her equipment for competition entries, and enter jointly.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: Jimmy K on March 02, 2013, 02:30:23 PM
In collegiate cycling they let professionals compete. Obviously, they were really fast, and obviously, it really sucked to compete against them if you weren't a professional. So, I don't really think it's appropriate for probrewers to enter homebrew comps at all, regardless of what equipment they use.
Maybe part of it is what level of pro-brewer they are too. I know a brewer who worked at a commercial brewery and homebrewed every chance he got prepping to open his own brewery. I never gave a second thought to him entering his homebrew (made in his kitchen) in our competitions. But now that his brewery is open, I think it would be different.
By the way, he owns http://www.burlingtonbeercompany.com/ (http://www.burlingtonbeercompany.com/)
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: micsager on March 04, 2013, 04:23:54 PM
I think the "perceived fairness" doctrine holds the most weight here.  I assumed that when I got a Brewer's Notice, homebrew comps were a thing of the past.  And I'll live by that.  Even though I still use the same exact equipment, and other than normal incremental changes all brewers should experience, we changed nothing the day we started brewing beer for sale. 

My local club did allow me to enter our first club only competition.  And I KNOW there are at least two brewers in my club that are better than I, yet they do not brew for sale. 

     

 
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: phunhog on March 08, 2013, 06:15:28 PM
In collegiate cycling they let professionals compete. Obviously, they were really fast, and obviously, it really sucked to compete against them if you weren't a professional. So, I don't really think it's appropriate for probrewers to enter homebrew comps at all, regardless of what equipment they use.

I agree.  Don't we always say that it isn't the equipment that makes great beer but rather the brewers' knowledge, skills, and ability.  I am going to make a BIG assumption that if someone is a professional brewer that they already have that going for them.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: Alewyfe on March 08, 2013, 06:36:29 PM
We currently have 3 professional brewers in our club. I sincerely hope they remain active as I think it brings a lot to the group. By summer there may be a couple more. For our club only competitions, we have decided that anything brewed by anybody, anywhere with a total batch volume of 20 gals or less is acceptable.

We like to encourage as many entries in competitions as possible, and why not let the Pro-B's use the competition to get feedback on their experimental brews?

On the other side of it, we've got members whose home set ups would be the envy of any Pro. Should they be disqualified because they've got more "professional" gear?  Not for this club! We'd rather show them just what can be done with an old blue cooler. :)
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: micsager on March 08, 2013, 07:39:27 PM
In collegiate cycling they let professionals compete. Obviously, they were really fast, and obviously, it really sucked to compete against them if you weren't a professional. So, I don't really think it's appropriate for probrewers to enter homebrew comps at all, regardless of what equipment they use.

I agree.  Don't we always say that it isn't the equipment that makes great beer but rather the brewers' knowledge, skills, and ability.  I am going to make a BIG assumption that if someone is a professional brewer that they already have that going for them.

I think it is a BIG assumption.  While our Amber is great, and sells quicker than we can brew it, this past winter our winter warmer was a dud for sure.  And, I don't really charactorize myself as a "pro brewer,"  I'm a homebrewer who can legally sell beer.   ;D
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: nateo on March 08, 2013, 07:57:47 PM
Don't probrewers have their own competitions? It sounds kinda like those weird college guys who still hang out at their high school.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: Alewyfe on March 08, 2013, 08:00:30 PM
Don't probrewers have their own competitions? It sounds kinda like those weird college guys who still hang out at their high school.

:)
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: Jeff M on March 08, 2013, 08:10:08 PM
Better Competition should breed better results form everyone.  Wanting to win will increase results and make your community better, maybe with a few unhealthy rivalries.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: a10t2 on March 08, 2013, 08:30:07 PM
I enter homebrew competitions when I want high-quality, objective feedback on a recipe. How else am I supposed to get it?

What's the difference between a professional brewer and a home brewer who's been brewing on the same system twice a week for a decade? Other than that the dedicated home brewer is more familiar with his equipment, I mean.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: nateo on March 08, 2013, 08:39:38 PM
What's the difference between a professional brewer and a home brewer who's been brewing on the same system twice a week for a decade?

Obviously the core concept!
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: phunhog on March 08, 2013, 08:51:57 PM
Don't probrewers have their own competitions? It sounds kinda like those weird college guys who still hang out at their high school.

I don't know if it is possible but I would love it if some enterprising homebrewer got his beer into the GABF and won!!  With all the nanobreweries popping up I think it is in the realm of possibility..... ;)
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: tygo on March 08, 2013, 11:54:44 PM
Isn't it like $500 bucks an entry for the GABF?
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: a10t2 on March 09, 2013, 12:20:17 AM
Isn't it like $500 bucks an entry for the GABF?

Judging is $175 for BA members. It's having beers on the floor that gets spendy. About $300 for the first entry, ramping up to ~$800 if you want to enter several beers.

Home brewers are ineligible, FWIW. http://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/brewers/competition-information/#eligibility
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: boulderbrewer on March 14, 2013, 03:26:22 AM
Sucks to be the leader and a probrewer trying to keep both going. Maybe if I had an extra 80 hours.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: reverseapachemaster on March 14, 2013, 03:52:23 PM
I'm not too bothered by it because a lot of pro brewers are brewing what the head brewer or owner is telling them to brew so they are not let loose to brew their own ideas and own techniques at work like they can at home. Think about the homebrewers who work at the BMC breweries. They can't brew craft styles in those breweries so I don't see a reason why they should be excluded from competing alongside the rest of us.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: tschmidlin on March 14, 2013, 09:43:13 PM
I don't know, at some point it becomes like Michael Jordan showing up at the local one-on-one tournament and entering to win the $500 cash prize.
Title: Re: Homebrew clubs
Post by: anthony on March 15, 2013, 05:08:00 AM
I don't know, at some point it becomes like Michael Jordan showing up at the local one-on-one tournament and entering to win the $500 cash prize.

I am hyper-competitive, and in that analogy, I would be super psyched to go one-on-one with Michael Jordan.