« 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.