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General Category => Events => Homebrew Competitions => Topic started by: udubdawg on March 17, 2014, 02:56:04 PM

Title: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: udubdawg on March 17, 2014, 02:56:04 PM
the software that most everyone uses seems to include a default for packing that goes something like this:

"Carefully pack your entries in a sturdy box. Line the inside of your carton with a plastic trash bag. Partition and pack each bottle with adequate packaging material. Do not over pack! Write clearly: "Fragile. This Side Up." on the package. Your package should weigh less than 25 pounds. Please refrain from using "messy" packaging materials such a Styrofoam "peanuts" or pellets; please use packaging material such as bubble wrap.

Enclose your each of your bottle labels in a small zip-top bag before attaching to their respective bottles. This way it makes it possible for the organizer to identify specifically which beer has broken if there is damage during shipment."

unpacking almost 1000 bottles yesterday we had ONE that was leaking.  None broken. 
my question to organizers/staff has to do with the "small zip-top bag" around each bottle label.  It seems like this creates a lot of work, when bottle breakage is very rare.  As a new competitor some years ago I asked several organizers if they wanted the ziplocs.  Everyone said no.  Since then I've never used a trash bag or zip-tops. 

So, are the zip-tops something organizers/staff truly want?

thanks--
--Michael
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Jimmy K on March 17, 2014, 03:13:25 PM
I never asked for that. Waste of plastic bags too. I suppose the problem though is that some ink jet printer ink is very water soluble, so if one bottle breaks they all might be unreadable.

I also question "do not overpack". Not sure what it really means but the last thing you want is loose bottles knocking around. It is the opposite of how shipping companies tell you to pack fragile items.

Sent from my XT1030 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: james on March 17, 2014, 03:15:36 PM
Have always really hated when people use ziploc bags or plastic wrap. 
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: theDarkSide on March 17, 2014, 03:42:41 PM
I sent entries in once with ziplock bags but determined it was too much work.  In all the entries I've sent, I have only had one break (and I suspect that was once it was there not during shipping...just a suspicion).
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: AmandaK on March 17, 2014, 05:23:23 PM
My favorite is when entrants use packaging tape to seal their entry labels, then use color coded rubber bands to identify the matching pairs of entries.

It's pretty sad that I have a favorite way for entry packing...
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Joe Sr. on March 17, 2014, 05:37:00 PM
Glad to know I can stop wasting my zip lock bags...

It does seem like overkill, but whatever. 

My shipments of wine have never come in any sort of secondary water tight container and they've never arrived broken.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: johnf on March 18, 2014, 03:12:55 PM
The cynical POV is that it doesn't really matter what instructions you provide since people won't follow them.

The two things I would really like to get across are no tape inside the box and no peanuts. I think I can live with the other stuff.

Think about the way commercial beer is packed. Inside thin cardboard six pack holders inside of a box. Nothing else. Obviously the people shipping commercial beer know it is beer but all you really have to is avoid movement within the box and avoid glass to glass contact.

I always did one perforated sheet of bubble wrap per bottle held on with a rubber band. Then I lined the box with a garbage bag and filled any loose space with newsprint.

I can pack a box very fast that way and I can unpack a box very fast that way. I've shipped hundreds of beers that way and zero have broken.

This could be confirmation bias but it seems that the broken bottles are often in elaborately packed boxes.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: dkfick on March 18, 2014, 03:30:11 PM
I never use the zip lock bags for my entires.  I do use a garbage bag to line the box though.  I've had a bottle break during shipping... and it caused them to not deliver my package... they didn't return it either... Just stole everything I guess.  I tried to do get reimbursed and it fell on def ears.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: theDarkSide on March 18, 2014, 03:43:57 PM
Think about the way commercial beer is packed. Inside thin cardboard six pack holders inside of a box. Nothing else. Obviously the people shipping commercial beer know it is beer but all you really have to is avoid movement within the box and avoid glass to glass contact.

But the commercial guys don't need to worry about UPS trying to kick 40 yard field goals in the warehouse with their packages  ;D

The only tape I put in the box is to secure the bubble wrap and then it's only a small strip.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: braufessor on March 19, 2014, 04:00:05 PM
hmmmm... Having never worked behind the scenes in a competition, I have always done the sandwich bag thing.  Not really so much because of being worried about bottles breaking - always been more concerned about bottles "sweating" from warming and cooling and making the labels unreadable.  But, if that is not a problem, it would certainly be nice to get rid of that step.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: klickitat jim on March 20, 2014, 01:14:57 AM
I'll be rubber banding my bubble wrap from now on. Sorry Seattle!
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: AmandaK on March 20, 2014, 01:26:55 PM
I'll be rubber banding my bubble wrap from now on. Sorry Seattle!

Whadya do? Duct tape the bubble wrap on?
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: dkfick on March 20, 2014, 01:29:11 PM
the 'best' packing job I've ever seen was when someone used this black spray foam insulation and shot some in the box and then applied a layer and kept repeating this until the box was full of a big square of rubbery foam... and by best I mean worst.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Jimmy K on March 20, 2014, 02:10:32 PM
I'll be rubber banding my bubble wrap from now on. Sorry Seattle!

Whadya do? Duct tape the bubble wrap on?
Cable ties and hose clamps.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: jeffy on March 20, 2014, 03:05:15 PM
On a somewhat related topic, does anybody else feel that it should not be against the rules to have the style number written on the caps?  I leave it on in spite of the rules for two reasons: 1) it verifies that the cellar people don't mix up the entries I send in and 2) in every competition in this state, a label immediately goes onto the cap.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: udubdawg on March 20, 2014, 03:12:44 PM
On a somewhat related topic, does anybody else feel that it should not be against the rules to have the style number written on the caps?  I leave it on in spite of the rules for two reasons: 1) it verifies that the cellar people don't mix up the entries I send in and 2) in every competition in this state, a label immediately goes onto the cap.

I have stickers with style number on all my caps at home.  sometimes I remove them, sometimes I leave them on.  They are easily removable.  At KCBM AmandaK and co just put their sticker right over the top of mine - no harm done.

so, I agree with you.  it is one more way to make sure beers are in the correct category too.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Bruce B on March 25, 2014, 05:51:38 PM
Personally I'm fine with whatever one needs to do to get the bottles there intact. Stopping short of using trash or dirty laundry though. Hosting first round of the NHC last year we had a lot of bottles show up broken. Got to a point where the UPS and FedEx delivery folks were getting a little grumpy with the Northern Brewer store that everything was being delivered to. Does the unpackaging get a little harder yeah, but if it keeps our partner in the good graces with the delivery folks I'm okay with that.

I like the idea of shipping entries with the category number on the caps. Easy for the stewards to black out or put a label over. As an organizer though I would probably go with what is on the label though if there was a discrepancy between the cap and label.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: dogglebe on April 09, 2014, 11:23:50 PM
I received my scores today and the sheets say I took second place in one category.  Does this mean I'm moving forward in the competition?


Phil
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: morticaixavier on April 10, 2014, 01:41:47 AM
I received my scores today and the sheets say I took second place in one category.  Does this mean I'm moving forward in the competition?


Phil

sounds like it. congrats! what site?
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: klickitat jim on April 10, 2014, 01:52:16 AM
I'll be rubber banding my bubble wrap from now on. Sorry Seattle!

Whadya do? Duct tape the bubble wrap on?

Crap, sorry Amanda. Didn't see you quoted.

No, I built stainless steel containers, welded around each bottle and filled with space shuttle heat tile goo.

Actually I used a dab of scotch tape. Or Scots tape, or Scottish tape depending

You know, it took me an hour to pack them. Why it never crossed my mind how long it would take to unpack 700 of them...
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Jimmy K on April 10, 2014, 01:56:07 AM
On a somewhat related topic, does anybody else feel that it should not be against the rules to have the style number written on the caps?  I leave it on in spite of the rules for two reasons: 1) it verifies that the cellar people don't mix up the entries I send in and 2) in every competition in this state, a label immediately goes onto the cap.
I've come full circle on this. I don't think it's much harm, especially since online competition software tells you what your entry numbers are. If someone wanted to cheat, they could just tell their judge friend what their entry number is. Although, I think nearly everyone is honest. Perhaps the bigger risk is a judge noticing that a bottle is so-and-so because of the cap or something, not on purpose, but just because they know.
 
Anyway, a few days ago I was thinking that as an organizer I wouldn't want most entries to do this - mostly because I want the sorting staff to use the bottle labels. If bottles were had cat numbers on the caps, I think some would start to get lazy and not read the labels, just go by the caps. Maybe I'm overthinking it. I certainly wouldn't care if someone wrote the style in small characters. I'd just think twice before encouraging everyone to do it.
 
On the other hand, it would make it easier to divide bottles for different groups of staff to process.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: klickitat jim on April 10, 2014, 02:33:13 AM
On a somewhat related topic, does anybody else feel that it should not be against the rules to have the style number written on the caps?  I leave it on in spite of the rules for two reasons: 1) it verifies that the cellar people don't mix up the entries I send in and 2) in every competition in this state, a label immediately goes onto the cap.

Our caps had an org assigned entry number but the style and letter would be helpful too cuz we didn't always have a pull sheet. Case in point, I was tasting the sweetest milk stout I'd ever had but was told it was a dry stout. Had to wrangle a steward and have them double check.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Bruce B on April 10, 2014, 04:54:23 AM
I received my scores today and the sheets say I took second place in one category.  Does this mean I'm moving forward in the competition?


Phil

Per the competition website - "First, second and third place entries that score 30 or above from each of the First Round judging centers receive ribbons from the AHA and qualify for entry into the National Homebrew Competition Final Round. Final Round qualifying entrants will be contacted with information on submitting entries."

Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: Bruce B on April 10, 2014, 05:32:35 AM
On a somewhat related topic, does anybody else feel that it should not be against the rules to have the style number written on the caps?  I leave it on in spite of the rules for two reasons: 1) it verifies that the cellar people don't mix up the entries I send in and 2) in every competition in this state, a label immediately goes onto the cap.
Assuming the use of BCOE&M, for our competitions we print 3/4 circle labels numbered 1 through whatever.  We use these sheets - http://www.planetlabel.com/labels/product/inkjet-laser/white-uncoated-3-4-diameter-circle1

Each number is printed 5 times but we only use 4 of the 5.  Assuming two bottles, one round labels goes on each bottle cap and the other two labels go on the bottle necks.  We use these because 1) whatever is on the cap is covered up, 2) the longer address label types cause issues with getting the cap off in the event it's a gusher, and 3) if the label is on the neck it's above any kind of water line in the cooler when chilling. 

We also print one copy of the bar code labels with the same number range as the round labels.  When we put the bar code label on the bottle label that came with the bottle so we can use a scanner to mark the entry as received.  Obviously the number on the round label is the same as the one on the bar code label. 

Using the labels this way also rids the bottle of the entry number that the entrant sees.  The judge only sees the random number that we assigned.
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: dogglebe on April 10, 2014, 03:58:28 PM

sounds like it. congrats! what site?

Philadelphia.

Looks like I have just enough bottles to move forward and two 750's to share in Grand Rapids.


Phil
Title: Re: question for comp organizers/staff
Post by: santoch on May 07, 2014, 03:18:20 AM
The bottles are typically unpacked, scanned, and stickered right away, so there's really no way for a judge to see what's on the cap under the sticker.

However, I've witnessed a number of times where packing material or whatever pulls the labels away from the bottles as you pull them out of the box. 

It's really hard to tell which bottle is the NE Brown and which bottle is the Irish Red by holding them up to the light.  Having the category number on the cap would really have helped in that case.  Luckily, the brewer was local so he was able to provide replacements before the comp.