On the topic of BA & AHA and Best Beers in America, I think a little history might be helpful.
We're now on the 17th rendition of the Best Beers in America AHA member poll. The idea for the poll originated with Ray Daniels, who was then editor-in-chief of Zymurgy magazine. That first Best Beers feature appeared in the July/August 2003 issue, two years before the Brewers Association was established. Back then the AHA was part of the Association of Brewers, which was created by Charlie Papazian in the early 1980s.
Ray's point in creating the poll is still true today:
"The premise of this exercise was that you, the Zymurgy reader, brew beer. Therefore, you not only drink beer on a regular basis, you also know how it's made and what's good and bad in beer flavor...you keep an eye on what the commercial producers are doing and you know who's getting it right."
The fact that it is homebrewers who are voting is what makes this poll stand out from any other rating system out there.
That's why our Best Beers in America results get picked up by media outlets nationwide every year. In fact, nothing else that we do all year long gets more media attention for homebrewing and the AHA than the results of Best Beers in America poll. That drives traffic to the HomebrewersAssociation.org. Most of that traffic is from non-homebrewers, which means we’re exposing a whole lot of non-brewers to all of the resources we provide for getting people started in homebrewing.
So, promoting homebrewing is a big part of the why we do it. The part that’s more directly aimed at benefiting the members of the AHA, other than the results themselves, is that the poll results let us know what clone recipes are of greatest interest to our members. Those recipes are among the most popular content we provide to members.
It’s not at all surprising that some members aren’t interested in the results of the poll. I’m sure that’s true of pretty much every feature we publish. It’s hard to create content that appeals to every reader. However, I sincerely hope that readers aren’t ditching the entire July/August issue just because they aren’t interested in one feature in that issue.