What do we get for that increase?
I think the only thing that the contestants can and should expect from that increase is that a better contest is held. I'm hoping that the extra dollars are going toward providing better support to the judges, stewards, and organizers that donate a lot of time for this great event.
Having contestants kick in a few extra dollars doesn't seem that outrageous. If the cost gets too high, contestants can maybe hold back on sending off that questionable beer and only send beers that they think are real winners. That is how supply and demand works. When the cost is under the perceived value received, that invites contestants to send any beer in. Unfortunately, I can bear witness that there are a LOT of poor beers sent to the NHC first rounds!
Here is to an even better NHC!