I like the way you put that Jonathan.
To be clear, I am co-chairing the Mashing in Michigan 2014 Grand Rapids Conference. This means I know more of what is going on than most, some I can talk about, some I can't (contracts etc.)
Talking with staff, the best guess is that a lottery WILL NOT BE NECESSARY. If it is needed we will be ready.
What will happen.
(This is preliminary until the AHA staff releases details on the website.)
The application is the basic unit here, and includes your guest. You will not be split from your guest.
There will be an "Application Window" in late February. I have tentative dates but cannot release them at this time.
During the "Application Window" you will have a full week, weekdays and weekend to register. When you register will have NO IMPACT on the order of drawing, it will be (IF needed) a blind drawing. Now go back and reread that the best guess is that a lottery WILL NOT BE NECESSARY.
Based on the way beer events have been happening around the country is that without this "Application Window" everyone would be afraid of missing out and would apply within the first 5 minutes of opening. We all saw last year that this model causes all kinds of issues. If your job is such that you cannot signup during the day you would not be able to signup. We didn't like this. So to prevent this (again the best guess is that a lottery WILL NOT BE NECESSARY) we chose to implement the "Application Window".
If things go as planned EVERYONE that applied during the "Application Window" will get notice that their application has been accepted. If not, because we are over the capacity for this event, A blind drawing will occur.
During the Application Window you will fill out all the details for the conference, are you BJCP, Going to the Dinner, AHA number, Judging in the final round, volunteering (various activities during the conference (pouring etc,) and then repeat for your AHA member guest. No financial info will be collected at this time.
The registration Database will be checked for duplicates and duplicates will be eliminated.
When you get your acceptance you will have a minimum of 2 business days plus a full weekend to complete your registration and provide financial info to actually purchase your admission. You will not be able to change your guest or other details.
The AHA staff will try to include everyone, even if it slightly exceeds the numbers you have heard.
Please enter your information if you are planning to go. This will provide a benchmark for the AHA to better gauge demand for the event. This means that in the future we will be better able to predict the required size of the facility. This is done years in advance of the event.
Last year, despite all the problems, at the largest event to date, EVERYONE that had tried to purchase a ticket had the opportunity to do so. The AHA denied NONE.
As always we will look at any and all issues that come up for the purpose of making the next conference even better.