Author Topic: NHC competition site change.  (Read 8970 times)

Offline tony

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NHC competition site change.
« 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.  :(
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 04:03:06 PM by tony »

Offline hokerer

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #1 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.
Joe

Offline tony

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #2 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.

Offline garc_mall

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline tony

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #4 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?

Offline hokerer

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #5 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.
Joe

Offline garc_mall

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 05:45:30 PM »
They actually added a site this year, so now there are 11 sites.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #7 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--
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 07:07:30 PM »
yeah, you are right, I was thinking there was 1 Canadian and 9 US sites.
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Offline tygo

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #9 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.
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Offline tony

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #10 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.
"
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 05:18:49 AM by tony »

Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #11 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

Offline tony

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #12 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

Offline markaberrant

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #13 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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 04:10:12 PM by markaberrant »

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #14 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.
Tom Schmidlin