I agree that's just how judging goes. The same thing will happen to you in the 1st and 2nd round of the NHC. It's the nature of the beast. I'm not sure I see how that would be a negative against having qualifier competitions for the 1st round throughout the year. I can definitely see how logistically it would be a bit of work... But it seems to me it would be worth it.
In talking about using existing competitions. You medal at one of them you're allowed to enter the 1st round of the nhc.Dan, if you compete for a long time, you will have a certain bias against this. A 40+ beer in one competition will be a 32 in another. Then well respected folks give you great feedback the next time you put it out there. You can't say that judging is an exact science.
Why not just seed the brewer, not the beers? Someone who competes a lot will have enough ribbons/medals to qualify. That would be a lot of record keeping for someone, though.
In my mind you are still essentially raising the cost of entering the NHC to lower demand. I don't enter a lot of competitions partially because it's an expense that I don't need most of the time. But the NHC is an exception. As it is a highly respected contest I'm sure there are a lot of folks you aim for it as their one, or one of a very few, contests each year. If you are trying to gain entry to NHC by winning a separate qualifying event with it's own entry fee you have again made it so someone who can afford to enter ten or hundreds of beers in contests all year long has a much greater chance of getting an entry than someone who has to refine and collect their very best efforts and enter only in 1 or 2 contests in the hope of winning on the merits of their entry rather than on surviving attrition.
These days I usually do 3 or 4 local comps and the NHC. Some of those I are not before the entries are due. Looking at the BJCP site, no competitions are registered in MI before June.
I didn't mean as a solution for this years. It would start after the NHC so the competitions would range from after the NHC (comp) registration to the month before the first round registration for the next year so you always have roughly a month to get one in.
I wouldn't mean to make every slot for the NHC to be open from competition only just a portion depending on how many competitions wanted to participate. I do realize there are competitions that are overrun already... I would think some competitions would welcome it though.
At any rate seems there have been surveys and most people wouldn't want the NHC to be merit based and would prefer to have anyone enter anything so long as they win the lottery. So this whole thing may be moot.