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Messages - smkranz

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1
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: home brew competioion
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:41:18 PM »
Needing help in setting up a competition of local home brewers in the Waukesha County Wisconsin.

Any suggestions will help me setting up the competition.  Is it legal to charge an admission fee for the general public.  We would have food and entertainment but want to offer local home brewers a platform of competition with trophies and other types of awards.

How much time needed for brewer's to be able to respond.

Thank you I look forward to your input

Perry Woolley
Mukwonago WI

(There is a competition sub-forum here: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?board=23.0 )

What is your goal...are you a homebrewer, or a club, or a business trying to create an event to generate income?

Our club's competition will be 10 years old this year (two weeks from now), and is held in conjunction with the Maryland Microbrewery Festival, which is organized and hosted by a separate organization and which invites our participation.  The festival charges admission, but the judging is done in a closed building out of the public eye.

It requires a handful of people and good cat-herding skills.  We have an Organizer (me), a Head Judge, a Head Steward, a Registrar, and a Cellar Master.  And that's just for the beer part...we also have a food committee made up of several Spousal Units who prepare a bunch of breakfast dishes for the approximately 30-35 Judges, Stewards, and staff who are needed on judging day.

We charge entrants $8 per entry, and judge about 100 entries on the morning of the festival.  That requires a minimum of 20 judges (two judges per entry, assuming an average of 10 beers per flight/pair of judges), and pretty much takes up a full morning judging session.  Then we do Best of Show in the afternoon.  Our club has experienced homebrewers who are not BJCP Judges but serve as judges and whom we pair with ranked Judges, and we also get several area professional brewers to help with judging.  So at least one BJCP Judge or professional brewer per entry.

If you are planning a legit competition with BJCP judges, so that entrants get proper feedback, and judges get credit for their efforts, go to bjcp.org where you will find documents about how to run a competition.  If/when you register your competition with the BJCP, you will receive spreadsheets of all active BJCP judges, and provisional judges, so you can solicit judges for your competition.

6-8 weeks' notice for registrants is fairly standard.  We *always* experience a very annoying circumstance where people register for the competition, and take up entry slots, but never complete or submit their entries.  So, we account for that by setting the software to accept a few more registrations than we would actually prefer, knowing there will be no-shows.

Depending on who/what you are and what your goals are, I would suggest that you *not* plan on making money on a homebrew competition.  Judges pretty much expect breakfast and lunch.  Entrants expect prizes and/or ribbons.  You'll also have expenses for tasting cups, printing for score sheets, flight sheets, cover sheets, bottled water, crackers or bread, publicity, registration software (we pay for hosted brew competition service), etc.  If you get Sponsors to donate prizes, food, etc., then you can actually come out ahead.

I'm pretty sure that the general public around here would *not* pay to attend a stand-alone homebrew competition, unless they got to drink beer for their entry fee.  Entertainment...hmmm...most judges want to be away from noise and distractions while they're doing their thing.  I've judged at State Fairs which are in public or semi-public settings, and while that can be entertaining for a little while, it's not a great idea, it's distracting and can slow things way down.

2
It sounds to me like you're looking for something that will cost $$$ and potentially take at least as much time maintaining as you currently spend.  I did look around for membership software solutions, driven mostly by email management, but ended up deciding that the cost was ridiculous.

We also use a simple Google Sheet for our roster.  Because all of our memberships renew at the same time, we do not have much to maintain.  Invoices go out once a year, in late November or early December, which our Treasurer and I use as an excuse to get together with a few beers and pizza.  Sort the spreadsheet by Member Type (Single, Couple, Spouse), then bulk copy and paste email addresses from the sheet into a PayPal invoice 20 or so at a time.  Singles and Couples get invoiced for different amounts, and Spouses don't get invoiced at all.  This literally takes us less than an hour once a year.  Then we check back in about February, see who has paid with PayPal (or cash/check directly to the Treasurer), and update the Year Paid column on the spreadsheet.  A couple more beers and another pizza.  If there are stragglers who haven't paid, it is a simple matter to sort the Sheet by Year Paid and send a reminder email by copying and pasting email addresses in bulk.

New members require a little bit of manual work: adding them to the roster spreadsheet, adding them to the Google Group, and if they request it, approving their access to the Members Only page of our web site and our FaceBook Group.

The biggest hassle we had was managing our email distribution list.  We were using various Comcast email accounts with forwarding filters set up.  That got way out of hand maintaining multiple filters to add/edit/delete people's addresses as they came and went.

The solution was the Google Group.  Set it and forget it.  Enter addresses once as people join.  Then whoever you want to set with the authority to send club-wide emails, has only to send one email to the Group address and it goes out to everyone.  No one gets accidentally left off.

We have membership card capability by creating a PDF with two editable fields (Name, and Year).  It is uploaded to the Members Only page of our web site which requires a login to access.  (It is a Google Site linked to our domain.)  I honestly don't know if anyone actually uses it, the only purpose of which would be to get a discount at one of several area homebrew shops.  But they all honor our club discount without the need for a card.

3
We use a Google Group for club-wide email distribution.  You can set members' level of access so for example, only officers can send club-wide emails.  It's working very well, one email to the club Group address from an authorized person gets forwarded to everyone.  PayPal for dues invoicing, which is connected to our club's checking account.  The Cavemen in the club still pay with cash.  Facebook is our message board.  We hover around 80-90 members.  All our memberships are on a Jan-Dec calendar year.  For new members, they pay a little more than the annual dues the first year, but that gets them the rest of that year plus the following year.

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4
Kegging and Bottling / Beer tap signs from Michaels
« on: May 30, 2017, 03:34:38 PM »
Who knew that Michaels (the arts and crafts chain store) had a homebrewing department?  I recently added these small self-standing chalkboard signs to my new 2-faucet kegerator in lieu of chalkboard or other changeable faucet handles.  They were $.99 each, plus $8 for a pack of "chalk markers" in 5 colors.  They wipe absolutely clean with a damp paper towel for repeated use.




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5
Beer Travel / Re: San Diego-Pacific Beach
« on: May 29, 2017, 04:37:32 PM »
Lost Abbey.  A little bit of a drive north in San Marcos.  (I have not been to The Confessional which looks like it might be a little closer.)

6
Homebrew Clubs / Re: Club Night 2017
« on: May 03, 2017, 05:53:34 PM »
There is nothing at all wrong with simplicity at Club Night.  One year (in Philly) we did a fairly ornate booth.  We had a great theme and it was an artistic success.  But it was also a h.u.g.e. pain in the rear to set up.  And then there was the break-down part.  Never again.  (It didn't help that the convention center in Philly seemed like it was a mile-long hike back to our rooms.)  That part was almost as fun as filling out I.R.S. forms (we don't do that, either).

My personal m.o. as a Club Night consumer, is to taste anything that sounds different, or if someone tells me they tasted a great beer at a particular booth.  Rarely have I been disappointed.

On pre-screening beers before going, we have never done that.  Someone in our club wants to serve a beer to the country, I trust their judgment, and no one around here wants hurt feelings if someone thinks another member's beer is unworthy.  The only thing we have done is to try to avoid having duplicates of the same style.

7
Until getting a Tower of Power stand, I used an old wooden stool to mount my chiller and pump.



I personally think if you are concerned about the volume of waste water, your best best it to just try to capture it and re-use it for something later, like watering your garden, washing dishes, etc.  The water that discharges from my plate chiller is h.o.t. and if you tried recycling it with cold packs and running it back through the chiller, you'd be there all day and all night long.

8
I never check local prices vs. online.  In central Maryland we are fortunate that there are 4 LHBS within 45 minutes, most of which also offer a homebrew club or AHA discount.

I shop online (Williams and morebeer, never again NB or Midwest) once in a blue moon when there's a specialty item, or for which I don't feel like making a separate trip.  I also try to make at least one purchase a year from them to meet a requirement that at least one of them has before they'll donate a prize for a homebrew competition.

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Favorite Brew Music
« on: March 31, 2017, 03:51:34 PM »
Toe-tapping old time & bluegrass, like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2GihxDl8mg


10
The Pub / Re: Good Guy Guinness?
« on: March 22, 2017, 05:52:45 PM »
The House vote was unanimous.  Delegates voted for something they were told was supported by breweries, which was false.  I believe that many of them voted for this thinking they doing something good.  But it seems that they had to pass the bill so they could know what was in it. 

The most disgusting part of the bill as passed is the part that forces breweries which reach the 2,000 barrel sales threshold, to sell the rest of their 3,000 barrel allotment to a wholesaler from whom they have to buy it back in order to sell it to customers in their own tasting room!  This is also evidence that wholesalers and retailers have a much better lobby, and pay more grease money, than brewers.

Our club has raised this to our state senator who has promised that he will review the bill before voting on it, which is unlike his House counterparts.

11
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: cleaning bottles
« on: March 14, 2017, 10:04:48 AM »
I personally would not be comfortable using bottles that had not been sanitized shortly before use. There are just too many ways for contaminants to find their way in while the bottles are stored, so sanitation is not an area where I want to take any shortcuts.

I second this.  If your bottles are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed out after their contents have been poured, I would skip the whole bleach thing.  Store the clean and dry bottles in case boxes, and on bottling day either soak them if that's your preference, or give them a sanitizing squirt with the Vinator.  (Either way, I prefer the non-foaming SaniClean over Star San for bottle sanitizing.)  An added advantage for me to sanitizing right before bottling, is that I generally bottle carbonated beer from a keg with a Beer Gun, and the pre-wetted bottles help minimize foaming.

12
The Pub / Re: Good Guy Guinness?
« on: March 08, 2017, 08:53:47 PM »
Reports have said that the new brewery will produce Blonde American Lager and experimental beers.  Apparently not Guinness Stout, which is also one of my favorites.  Tsk...

13
The Pub / Re: Good Guy Guinness?
« on: March 08, 2017, 06:48:44 PM »
Well, the originally-filed bill would have applied only to the proposed new Guinness brewery, which suggests that they chose not to ask the local breweries how that would fly.  No one in the Brewers Association of Maryland objects to them coming in, they just want a level playing field.  So Guinness learned quickly that playing nice with the locals would get them farther than going it alone, particularly with opposition from retailers and distributors.

14
Kegging and Bottling / Re: New to Kegging and have some questions
« on: February 02, 2017, 02:54:58 PM »
I was thinking more of the number of gas lines and fridge or kegerator space.  But I use 20 lb. tanks which sit on top of each of my 2 beer fridges.


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15
Kegging and Bottling / Re: New to Kegging and have some questions
« on: February 01, 2017, 05:33:51 PM »
The only reason in my mind to prime beer in a keg, would be if you don't have capacity in your system to connect it to gas and get it cold.

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