Author Topic: NHC competition site change.  (Read 8972 times)

Offline hubie

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #60 on: January 30, 2013, 11:51:37 AM »
because the AHA is a US based, US focused lobbying organization/affinity group?

I belong to several professional societies that have "American" as the first word in their acronyms, and at various points are now or have previously belonged to other societies that are set up to represent and advocate for their members, promote and advance their craft, etc.  None of them, as far as I have ever been aware, would adopt this stance, even in spirit, on issues, and they all welcome Canadian and other foreign membership.  I would be very disappointed if this is the strongest argument used to defend eliminating the Canadian entry site.

Given the size and growth rate of the AHA, they might want to consider doing what other national organizations of this size does and go to regional divisions.  There is clearly a geographic element to the issue of entry sites and this is the kind of thing that is easier handled within a division.

I can understand the challenges Tom has put forth, but I think the resolution is short-sighted.  Canada does present a unique situation, but it sounds like they have a strong and motivated support system and put forth some reasonable suggestions to consider.  I don't buy into the argument about an unfair statistical advantage either, particularly since the region was expected to fill their slots.  Sticking with the fairness issue, if you're going to have regional competitions in the first round, then you should require people to enter their particular region to keep people from shopping for "weaker" regions or homebrew clubs from flooding multiple regions, etc.

If one wanted to argue slot statistics, I think the need to cap the number of entries is more telling.  Based on the average, it looks like each person who entered the competition entered about five beers.  I would be interested in hearing what the median entry per person was as well.  I recall reading that one of the medalists entered something like 50 beers!  It will be interesting to see whether this increases the number of people entering this year.  The Ninkasi goes to the person with the highest point total, but I think they ought to give mention to the person with the highest points per entry.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2013, 12:07:03 PM »
because the AHA is a US based, US focused lobbying organization/affinity group?

I belong to several professional societies that have "American" as the first word in their acronyms, and at various points are now or have previously belonged to other societies that are set up to represent and advocate for their members, promote and advance their craft, etc.  None of them, as far as I have ever been aware, would adopt this stance, even in spirit, on issues, and they all welcome Canadian and other foreign membership.  I would be very disappointed if this is the strongest argument used to defend eliminating the Canadian entry site.


The question I was answering with the above quoted post was why the membership is skewed so heavily towards US residents. I was not suggesting that this was the reason the canadian site was eliminated. I think the reasoning behind that has been clearly set forth in this thread and on the document posted on the AHA website. I was merely saying that I suspect the reason that the overwhelming majority of AHA members are US residents is because the AHA is primarily concerned with homebrewing issues in the US. And the AHA DOES welcome Canadian and other non-US residents. However the benefits to non-US residents may not justify the expense of a membership to as many.

It seems like this is a mountain out of a molehill issue. It should be a fairly easy task to organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2013, 12:29:43 PM »
organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Brilliant ... perhaps
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #63 on: January 30, 2013, 02:07:30 PM »
...but, ultimately, as stated above, you are hurting for BJCP judges.  As crazy as this sounds, in the long run, it may have been more beneficial to your members to have more sites in Canada and open to the US entries.  I would bet that we have a large pool of qualified judges available to handle it at this end.  Because obviously, you are backing yourselves into a corner with the disproportional growth rates of brewers/judges.  Killing ALES is just a symptom of a bigger problem that may not go away so easily.  My 2c.
We haven't killed anyone or anything.  The competition is no longer a 1st round site for the NHC this year, but that doesn't prevent them from holding the competition at all.  In fact I would be disappointed if it were cancelled since the existence of the competition was not solely as a qualifier for the 2nd round like the 1st round regions are in the US.

In the future we could consider returning to the ALES competition and even adding more Canadian sites - why not?  If we could add enough judging centers so that everyone could enter all of their beers we could have 50 Canadian sites, I don't mind.  But that doesn't help with the limitations on the number of entries we can handle in the second round. 

I can understand the challenges Tom has put forth, but I think the resolution is short-sighted.  Canada does present a unique situation, but it sounds like they have a strong and motivated support system and put forth some reasonable suggestions to consider.  I don't buy into the argument about an unfair statistical advantage either, particularly since the region was expected to fill their slots.  Sticking with the fairness issue, if you're going to have regional competitions in the first round, then you should require people to enter their particular region to keep people from shopping for "weaker" regions or homebrew clubs from flooding multiple regions, etc.
We used to divide things by region and everyone had to enter their beers in whatever region they lived in.  The end result of this though, was that you had some regions that filled rapidly if only because they have so many members, and some that did not fill at all.  Letting everyone enter wherever eliminates this problem, and is viewed as more fair.  You can try to cherry pick a region you may think is "weak", but I doubt that will work to your advantage in the end.

Let me emphasize that this is not a resolution to the problem.  It is what we have decided to do for this year, and there will be additional changes in the future as we try to deal with the growth.  Not everyone will like all of the changes we make, I accept that.  But we are doing and will continue to do what we think is in the best interest of the competition and our members.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline giant_macaskill

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2013, 02:26:07 PM »
I didn't mean killed as in terminated, the ALES competition will clearly go on.  But it is killed as a NHC first round site.  There's no sugar coating of that.

I don't see how you'll ever return to this site, or any other one in Canada as it appears one of the major criteria of removing it was the lack of AHA members in Canada.  This move won't help.  The rest of these explanations/excuses are window dressing and won't solve that problem. 

You basically decided that you are keeping your 2nd round quotas for the US based on concentration of AHA members.  And that's fine, it's your organization, but there's no sense pretending what happened was because of Canadians wanting to bypass ALES, or lack of entries.  Those aren't well founded arguments.

Offline a10t2

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2013, 02:29:27 PM »
I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

It may not solve anything, but it will help. A couple hundred more brewers will have entries in the first round this year than in the past, and a couple dozen more in the second.

The Ninkasi goes to the person with the highest point total, but I think they ought to give mention to the person with the highest points per entry.

I agree that there ought to be the individual equivalent of the Gambrinus Award. The problem is that it would end up being a multi-way tie every year, but obviously we're embracing creative tie-breaking rules. ;)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 02:32:17 PM by a10t2 »
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Offline giant_macaskill

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2013, 02:32:14 PM »
organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Brilliant ... perhaps
I'm not sure there's 10 clubs in the country with any amount of organization, let alone at the borders.  Pretty hard to do.  I'm not even sure about the legalities either.  That's the way it goes...brew on.

Offline giant_macaskill

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2013, 02:34:33 PM »
I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

It may not solve anything, but it will help. A couple hundred more brewers will have entries in the first round this year than in the past, and a couple dozen more in the second.
ALES was projecting a full round, so that's not so true.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #68 on: January 30, 2013, 02:36:23 PM »
organize 10-20 border adjacent canadian homebrew clubs to accept Entries via domestic post/shipping channels and then hand carry those entries across the border to be shipped via domestic US (Private) shipping channels to the sites. This should also mean that more of the Canadian entries would actually make it instead of being turned away at customs. I could well be wrong though.
Brilliant ... perhaps
I'm not sure there's 10 clubs in the country with any amount of organization, let alone at the borders.  Pretty hard to do.  I'm not even sure about the legalities either.  That's the way it goes...brew on.

seems to me there are 100's of clubs with at least enough organization to put a local comp together.

Really you only need 1 club if they are willing and the legalities allow.

just saying there are answers. They may require a bit of creative manuevering. But you can bet Tom and the crew have been doing plenty of that over the years here in the States as well.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline tony

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #69 on: January 30, 2013, 02:42:14 PM »
I can see a lot of truth in all the above statements, but I'm sure removing the first round here won't solve any of the growth problems the AHA competition has been experiencing.

It may not solve anything, but it will help. A couple hundred more brewers will have entries in the first round this year than in the past, and a couple dozen more in the second.


I can see from all the discussion here that perhaps there is hope for next year.

As for your answer to my question, I fail to see how adding a couple dozen more entries into the second round helps lessen the load on the judges. I know we are talking about a minor detail here though, and perhaps the answer from Tom will bear fruit next year.

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #70 on: January 30, 2013, 02:46:01 PM »
Really you only need 1 club if they are willing and the legalities allow.

It doesn't have to be an organized event either. Something like 80% of Canada's population lives within an hour of the border. Lots of people already drive farther than that with their entries.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #71 on: January 30, 2013, 04:19:28 PM »
Really you only need 1 club if they are willing and the legalities allow.

It doesn't have to be an organized event either. Something like 80% of Canada's population lives within an hour of the border. Lots of people already drive farther than that with their entries.
We drove the clubs entries down to Indianapolis the last 2 years. 5 hours from here. Have family in the area.

Indy is no longer a first round (no cries about that?), but a club member will take the entries to Zanesville as he has family there.

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #72 on: January 30, 2013, 04:58:28 PM »
I don't see how you'll ever return to this site, or any other one in Canada as it appears one of the major criteria of removing it was the lack of AHA members in Canada.  This move won't help.  The rest of these explanations/excuses are window dressing and won't solve that problem. 
First, they are reasons, not excuses.  You may not like the reasons, but it was not a decision we made and then later tried to justify.

Second, I can see several ways in which the 1st round would return to the ALES competition, some more likely than others and some could make it as early as next year.  Maybe this will make more sense if we talk about  . . .

Constraints:
1.  The number of entries we can handle in the second round.  We currently set that at 924, or the number of entries passed forward from 11 first round judging centers.
2.  The number of entries each judging center can handle in the 1st round.  We currently set that number at 750 and keep all of them the same as a matter of fairness.

So given:
(a) we are only able to have 11 first round sites, and
(b) we are able to find 11 sites in the US, and
(c) all of the sites sell out easily, and
(d) 10.8/11 AHA members live in the US,
Therefore: we decided to move the Canadian site to the US.

Note, the relative number of members in each location is only one factor that was considered.  It only appears to be the main consideration because the other considerations are what they are this year.  If any of those givens change we could easily add a site back to Canada.

For example, if we change constraint 1 and decide we can handle an additional 84 entries in the second round that changes (a) to 12 first round centers.  If we are unable to find 12 sites in the US (b), the ALES competition would be my first choice for the 12th region.  Given the expansion of the conference and the expected expansion of the judging pool for the 2nd round, and the difficulties in finding judging centers in the US, I think it is a very real possibility that this would happen.

Or it could be that (b) we can't find 11 places in the US where we feel we can get the beers judged well, then we would want to move one to Canada again.  Given the struggles we (and by we I mean Janis) often have in finding good judging centers in the US, and those who are willing to do it year after year, and who are far enough from other judging centers to not impact their judging pool, I think you could see this happening.  The US sites shuffle all of the time, moving from place to place, and that mostly has to do with local interest and ability to judge the beers during the given time frame.

As another example, if we change constraint 2 and decide each 1st round center can handle 1500 entries instead of 750 (not likely, but incremental changes are possible as local judge pools expand) then we would have increased the number of entries in the first round without changing anything in the second round.  If we feel these are not likely to sell out rapidly (c), then there is no pressure for entries in the US and having a Canadian judging center becomes an easy option again.

Less likely scenarios:
If interest in the competition falls to the point where regions are not filling (c), then we could move a region back to Canada.

If the levels of Canadian members increase (or US levels fall) to the point where there are roughly 1/11 (d), then I would certainly push for a Canadian site.  If every Canadian joined the AHA then I would push for every 1st round site to be moved there, provided there were enough judges and sites to hold them.

You basically decided that you are keeping your 2nd round quotas for the US based on concentration of AHA members.  And that's fine, it's your organization, but there's no sense pretending what happened was because of Canadians wanting to bypass ALES, or lack of entries.  Those aren't well founded arguments.
Those are not the main reasons, but they are still reasons - like it or not, there has been interest from some Canadian members in entering at US sites.  Brewers in Vancouver can drive their entries to Seattle.  It won't work for everyone, but it will work for some.  As for lack of entries, it is not just the number that are entered, it is the number that are sent to the second round.  Less than 2/3 made it this year, and while I understand a couple were held up by customs that does not account for all of them by a long shot.  That is a consistent issue that is not affected by whether the site gets 750 entries or not.

All of these things played into the decision.  I don't mind that you don't think they are well founded, but they are not arguments, it is reality.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline giant_macaskill

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #73 on: January 30, 2013, 06:37:48 PM »
I see a lot of circular arguments.  ALES is always the second choice in-case the US is unable to handle the load.  Under constraints, your given points re-enforce what I said previous.  This is based on AHA membership density.  And that isn't going to change unless paid dues give some benefit to Canadian members.

The thought that there was a significant portion of brewers who wanted to enter US competitions and bypass ALES is just not a good argument, regardless of some people living at the border saying that it is.
 
The 2/3 2nd round participation likely isn't going to change greatly, so you need to fish or cut bait with us on that one.

Everything says to me that you'll be interested in using us again when it's convenient for you, or when you start seeing more dues coming in.  I understand the dues argument.  At any rate, it's a done deal, and I don't see this coming back, nor should it not without a long term commitment from both sides on certain issues.  ALES has to do some work on this end as well.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: NHC competition site change.
« Reply #74 on: January 30, 2013, 11:36:08 PM »
The thought that there was a significant portion of brewers who wanted to enter US competitions and bypass ALES is just not a good argument, regardless of some people living at the border saying that it is.
So responding to the stated desires of our members is a bad thing?  Noted.

I've explained things as best I can.  You are welcome to reject the truth that you don't like.  Let me know if you have anything new you'd like to talk about instead of rehashing the same discussion over and over.
Tom Schmidlin