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Author Topic: 2013 National Homebrew Competition Registration Updates  (Read 6947 times)

Offline duncan

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2013 National Homebrew Competition Registration Updates
« on: February 27, 2013, 11:16:41 am »
Statement issued by the American Homebrewers Association at 10:30 am MST, Wednesday, February 27, 2013:

NHC Registration Update: The AHA is aware of and actively working to troubleshoot a variety of National Homebrew Competition (NHC) registration payment issues, including some instances of multiple payments. As soon as possible, we will resolve overpayments and any other payment issues.

Per Tuesday evening’s emails to individuals with existing entries that were not yet paid, the system will accept payments through 1:00 pm MST/3:00 EST today (Weds., Feb. 27), with the exception of those judge centers that have reached a capacity of 750 paid entries (New York is currently maxed out and others will follow as payments are received). Unpaid entries in judge centers that have reached the capacity limit for paid entries will be reassigned to an alternate region, and registrants will have an opportunity to pay for those entries at a later date if they so choose. Once today’s 1:00 pm MST deadline for payments on existing entries is passed, the AHA will have data to troubleshoot and resolve payment issues, and will be able to complete a final tally of paid registrations. Note that no entries will be added or rejected (paid or unpaid) until the AHA can resolve all existing payment issues. We are doing our best to resolve these issues as efficiently as possible, but expect that it may take another full business day or more to identify and resolve these payment issues.

From there, we will communicate about the status of 2013 NHC registrations and next steps for the competition. Rest assured that all currently registered entries will have an opportunity to be judged in the competition.

Please accept our apologies for the failures of this year’s registration and payment system.
American Homebrewers Association / Brewers Association

Offline spowlison

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March 1: 2013 National Homebrew Competition Registration Update
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 08:47:44 am »
NHC Registration Update as of 8:45 am MST on Friday, March 1:

The AHA continues to actively troubleshoot the problems associated with this year's National Homebrew Competition (NHC) registration. We are sorry that the progress is not faster; at this point, the AHA is focused on taking the time necessary to get this right rather than rushing through the remediation process. We know those of you with entries are anxious for an update on their status.

Overpayments and other payment issues were among the AHA's priorities to address. As of Friday, March 1, we believe we have resolved most overpayment issues, and are working to resolve the remaining overpayments as soon as possible. If you experienced a payment issue, you should have received a credit (refund) notice from the AHA via our payment processor, or will receive one soon. (Of course, a statement or processing by your financial institution is subject to their policies and practices.)

Another step in the clean-up process has involved updating the competition database to reflect all paid entries as, in fact, paid. This is now complete. This leaves some entries in the system that are still unpaid, whether due to the entrant's selected region being at capacity or due to other issues. As troubleshooting continues, rest assured that all currently registered entries (paid and unpaid) will have an opportunity to be judged in the competition. The AHA will be in touch directly with everyone who registered in the system within the next several business days.

What's next?
Due to the problems with registration, some judge centers mistakenly accepted more entries than the designated limit for judging. The AHA is currently finalizing and executing a plan to reassign entries among the judge centers. As soon as possible, entrants will be contacted directly if their entry(s) needs to be reassigned to an alternate region. This communication will outline the steps to follow to accept and finalize the reassignment.

Once again, please accept the AHA staff's apologies for the failures and frustrations of this year's registration and payment system.

Offline spowlison

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Re: 2013 National Homebrew Competition Registration Updates
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 01:38:09 pm »
NHC Registration Update as of 12:30 pm MST, Monday, March 4:

The AHA is continuing to troubleshoot the problems associated with this year's National Homebrew Competition (NHC) registration. The AHA is communicating directly with individuals registered in the competition database regarding the status of entries. In the meantime, please know that behind-the-scenes work to resolve all existing issues remains actively in progress.

Unfortunately, while the competition database does not yet reflect that all entries are accounted for, individuals who are not registered with the system in any capacity should expect that registration will not reopen to the public at large. In other words, it is safe to expect that once the AHA resolves all database issues, the competition will be at capacity.

We will post more detailed updates as we have them and will let everyone know when 2013 NHC registration is fully resolved.

The AHA is deeply sorry for the failures of this year’s registration and payment system.

Offline spowlison

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Re: 2013 National Homebrew Competition Registration Updates
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 02:28:45 pm »
NHC Registration Update as of Friday, March 8 at 2:00 pm MST:

The AHA has been actively working to troubleshoot the multiple unfortunate issues that arose with the 2013 National Homebrew Competition (NHC) registration. We are deeply sorry for the difficulties. Here is where things stand with the competition as of Friday, March 8:

There are approximately 450 total entry spots remaining in five competition judge centers. The AHA will re-open registration for these remaining spots on Monday, March 11. Not all judge centers have remaining entry spots; some are already at capacity. Please note: per the existing competition rules and regulations, participants with entries in a region that has reached capacity will not be able to add entries in a different region.

Entry registration re-opens at 3:00 pm EDT/2:00 pm CDT/1:00 pm MDT/12:00 pm PDT on Monday, March 11.
• Entry registration will remain open until capacity is reached for all judge centers, or until the originally-scheduled close of registration at 2:00 pm EDT/1:00 pm CDT/12:00 pm MDT/11:00 am PDT on March 15, 2013.
• If you already have entries in a judge center that has not reached its entry capacity, you may submit additional entries (up to the competition limit of 15) in that region only.
• If you already have entries in a judge center that is full, you will not be able to submit additional entries.
• The original shipping information and deadlines remain in effect.

Get a Head Start
To streamline entry registration on Monday, we encourage you to set up a new user profile or verify your existing user information in the system now: Select an open judge center and create your user profile or check your existing information by logging in to the center where you plan to enter. 

Remember, entry registration doesn't re-open until Monday afternoon as specified above, but you can set up or verify your user profile at any time between now and then.

When all 2013 NHC issues are fully resolved, the AHA will share an update on what occurred and where we are headed from here. In the meantime, please accept our staff's apologies for the problems and frustrations with this year's NHC registration.

Offline Gary Glass

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Re: 2013 National Homebrew Competition Registration Updates
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2013, 09:32:59 am »
Dear AHA Members,

I'm sorry.

For this year's National Homebrew Competition, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) used a new online registration system. That system did not work as intended, leading to multiple unfortunate issues, including frustration for those trying to register and pay for their entries, instances of overpayment, and some entries having to be moved to alternate judge centers due to capacity issues. As director of the American Homebrewers Association, I take full responsibility for the failures of the new registration system and offer my sincere apology to everyone who had a challenging experience attempting to register for the competition.

What about AHA Conference Registration?

While the user experience for the National Homebrew Competition may have seemed similar to the experience with registration for the National Homebrewers Conference, they in fact had different causes. The issue with the National Homebrewers Conference registration was an underestimation of our server capacity needs for conference registration, which led our web servers to crash. For the National Homebrew Competition, we greatly increased the server capacity, and the servers performed fine, but the registration software got bogged down under the strain of so many people trying to register at the same time. While we had conducted thorough testing of the registration system prior to launch, it was not tested under the kind of load we actually experienced when we launched registration. We were probably overconfident that the system would perform well because it is a modified version of a competition management system that has been used by hundreds of competitions over the last several years.

To a large extent, the problems experienced with the National Homebrewers Conference and National Homebrew Competition can be attributed to a level of naivete that comes when a small association like the AHA grows very rapidly. In the last five years, AHA membership has grown by 124 percent, averaging 20 percent annual growth. It is difficult to anticipate the challenges that come with that kind of growth, but we learn from our missteps. In the case of the National Homebrew Competition, we will implement more robust testing of the registration system prior to launch in 2014.

Since closing competition registration two-and-a-half hours after launch, our staff has been focused on addressing issues with those who registered for the competition. Overpayments have been reimbursed and entries in overextended judge centers have been redistributed to other centers (entrants whose entries have been moved have had their entry fees waived). The total number of entries first registered was fewer than the total number of entries the competition could accept. There were a large number of people who registered themselves for the competition but were unable to register entries before we closed the registration system. Those people were then given the opportunity to register entries. That left 450 entries spread across five judge centers. We re-opened registration on Monday, March 11 and the remaining entry capacity was filled.

A Note about Competition Growth

The AHA recognizes that there were many people who wished to enter the National Homebrew Competition but were unable to do so. For this year's competition, the AHA Governing Committee Competition Subcommittee devised several changes to the competition to allow it to accept more entries, including adding another U.S. judge center and setting a limit on the number of entries an entrant may submit. Those changes allowed the competition to accommodate 447 more entrants than the 2012 competition, an increase of 26 percent. Ultimately, the competition is limited by the number of qualified judges available to judge the competition and the locations that can handle a competition the size of a first round NHC judge center. The reality of the situation is that interest in entering the competition has outpaced the rate at which new judges have become available. For future National Homebrew Competitions, the AHA Competition Subcommittee will consider potential changes to the competition, including many suggestions submitted by members, that will allow the competition to continue to sustainably grow while ensuring the quality of the judging.

Again, I apologize for the less-than-great experience that National Homebrew Competition entrants experienced with the entry registration system. Having spent the last 13 years of my life dedicated to serving the members of the American Homebrewers Association, it is disheartening for me to know that something we did fell short. We can and will do better in the future.


Gary Glass
American Homebrewers Association Director
Gary Glass
Longmont, Colorado