Author Topic: Beer Comp Entries Up?  (Read 2786 times)

Offline kerneldustjacket

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2011, 03:59:05 PM »

We've been working hard to increase the number of judges in the area. 

Same here, mostly through the efforts of one of our members ("christo" here on the AHA forum)
He now has us in mead classes to prep for taking the mead judge exam on Mead day in August...we've been doing a mead only comp for 13 years; interestingly, the entries for it have not "jumped" like folks have described for beer comps.
John Wilson
Savannah Brewers League
Savannah, GA

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8195
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2011, 04:07:48 PM »

We've been working hard to increase the number of judges in the area.

Same here, mostly through the efforts of one of our members ("christo" here on the AHA forum)
He now has us in mead classes to prep for taking the mead judge exam on Mead day in August...we've been doing a mead only comp for 13 years; interestingly, the entries for it have not "jumped" like folks have described for beer comps.

Ugh, the mead exam.  I'm taking it in the morning and haven't studied at all.  No chance of passing, but I'm not backing out either.  I'll study tonight and maybe learn my lesson and start studying earlier next time.

Who am I kidding? ;D
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2011, 06:05:16 PM »

We've been working hard to increase the number of judges in the area.

Same here, mostly through the efforts of one of our members ("christo" here on the AHA forum)
He now has us in mead classes to prep for taking the mead judge exam on Mead day in August...we've been doing a mead only comp for 13 years; interestingly, the entries for it have not "jumped" like folks have described for beer comps.

Ugh, the mead exam.  I'm taking it in the morning and haven't studied at all.  No chance of passing, but I'm not backing out either.  I'll study tonight and maybe learn my lesson and start studying earlier next time.

Who am I kidding? ;D

Good Luck on the exam Tom.

The NHC had a record number of entries last year and it's shaping up to be another great year this year as well. This coupled with the dramatic increase in AHA membership shows an increasing interest in our hobby.
Ron Price

Offline bfogt

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2011, 06:15:57 PM »
Who am I kidding? ;D

It's be a Personal Best, though, right?

Judging in the morning.  The contest grew by 30%!  Up to 35 from 24 last year!

Got my reminder of the schedule tonight at 6:30.  Hadn't heard anything since early February...

Another factor is money.  The cost is dropping for the smaller comps and the prizes are getting crazy.  WEB was $1000 from NB for Beer BoS and $500 from Adventures in Homebrewing for Cider/Mead BoS.  AND they have prizes for each category winner.  I think entries averaged out to less than $4 if you entered 4 (#4 was free), so a $1000 payout is attractive.  Just for two golds last year I got $45 in gift certificates.  Easily made my entry worth it.

Offline mabrungard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1391
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2011, 06:29:31 AM »
This issue with increasing competition entries is a real problem for me.  As a BJCP national judge, competitions are interested in my participation and I'm happy to do it...to a point. 

The problem is that the number of judges at competitions sometimes doesn't keep pace with the number of entries.  Judges are overloaded and in a hobby with alcohol, that is a problem.  There needs to be a better solution. 

The ranks of BJCP judges keeps growing and there should be sufficient judges to staff these competitions, but the reward for participating as a judge (beside the comradery) typically amounts to getting a free lunch and a trinket.  The judge is left to foot the bill for the overnight stay and travel costs.  It just doesn't make sense.  Judges need to be better compensated by these competitions for their services.

The Indiana State Fair runs a home and craft brewing competition that is probably one of the best run and compensated competitions in the nation.  They are paying judges on the order of $100 if they live over a couple hundred miles from Indy to cover their travel costs.  Even the local judges get a minor stipend and all judges get several meals during the course of the competition.  That is a model that needs to be implimented across the nation. 

To provide that stipend, competitions need to start increasing their entry fees.  Entry fees are clearly too low and too many entrants see great benefit from their entry.  That is great, but the cost for EVERYONE to participate needs to be spread around.   Right now, judges are the ones paying and that needs to change. The side benefit of the competition covering more of the judge's cost is that more judges will be willing to make the trek to participate and that means that the quality of judge and judging will improve.  Fewer beer entries per judge is a very desirable outcome for everyone. 

The National Homebrew Competition has addressed some of my concern by limiting the number of entries at the regionals to 750 per site.  That is a good start, but they also need to let the market help winnow the entries down and pay for judge participation.  Entry fees need to go up a lot and NHC needs to better compensate the judging staff. 

Let's get more good judges at all of these competitions.  I'm sure that many of you that have entered a competition, have experienced poor feedback from a inexperienced judge.  Wouldn't it be worth a few extra dollars to get better judges interested in participating in the contest and getting that better feedback? 
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brun-Water/464551136933908

Offline kerneldustjacket

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2011, 07:02:39 AM »
Ugh, the mead exam.  I'm taking it in the morning and haven't studied at all.  No chance of passing, but I'm not backing out either.  I'll study tonight and maybe learn my lesson and start studying earlier next time.

Who am I kidding? ;D

Tom, I was stunned when I saw the depth of information that the exam covers...but I can see the need for a skilled mead judge to know as much of it as possible. I can only hope to score in the mid 60s.
As with the beer judge exam, solid knowledge comes from layers of built-up experience - in judging, brewing, and tasting. (At least for us mere mortals)

I expect when you read this you'll have taken the exam. Hope you have a drink in your hand.  :)
John Wilson
Savannah Brewers League
Savannah, GA

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2011, 07:08:42 AM »
I wasn't clear, we judged ten peer two hour session.

It would be nice to get a stipend but at this point the e enjoyment is my payment.  I do fork out about 400 per weekend for travel and expenses.

I heard they are going to come out with a bjcp test that is easier to grade, that would allow more people to qualify.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 13668
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2011, 11:07:22 AM »
Hear, hear, Martin!  I don't know how realistic it is to think people would pay higher entry fees for hopefully better judging, but I agree with the points you make.  It's the main reason I can't judge at most of the comps I'm invited to judge at.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 03:55:45 PM by denny »
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline tumarkin

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 625
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2011, 03:47:13 PM »
Very interesting idea, Martin.

Thinking as I type, let's look at how this might play out with a real comp situation. Let's use Tom's example of his comp growing from 350 to 424 entries.

350 entries @ $6 each gives $2100, while 424 @ $6 gives $2544. Bumping the entry fee up to $10 (picked at random, but don't think folks would be happy with anything much higher) gives $3500 for 350 entries and $4240 for 424. So that's an additional $1400 for the smaller number of entries, and $1696 for the larger comp. Have to pick the number of judges at random, lets say 30. Does that sound reasonable.

If you split that among all the judges that would be $46 for the smaller number, and $56 for the larger number. Now you might decide not to give a stipend to your local judges & split it all among the out of town folks. Let's say the judges are 50/50 local/visitors, in which case it would double the amount of the stipend. Of course, this is all hypothetical & you could do it a bunch of different ways. But with this example, judges might expect between $50-100 if judging out of town. It would pay the whole cost of your expenses, but I'll bet it would be a welcome help.

The question is, would it actually result in an increase in the number of available judges? Don't know, but Martin's certainly given us something to think about.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline gsandel

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 334
  • www.onbeer.blogspot.com
    • View Profile
    • On Beer
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2011, 07:58:54 PM »
I have been thinking about competitions lately....I have no real interest in entering them because while the feedback is nice, I don't brew to win, but rather to enjoy (making and drinking...beer crafted for and by me), but judging has my interest to grow my own knowledge of what is out there....so I may take the exam this year.

I think that capping entries and making them more expensive would work....also, perhaps NHC needs qualifiers.  If you score minimum of 30 in a qualifying comp, you gain entry for 1 beer in nationals.  I like the idea of each brewer bringing what they think is their best beer, rather than the shotgun approach to winning medals.

Obviously, if it cost $100 to enter one beer, you would bring only your best of best, but that is not the spirit of inclusion that the AHA has always been about....hence the two rounds and regional judging at NHC.
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8195
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2011, 01:39:29 AM »
Ugh, the mead exam.  I'm taking it in the morning and haven't studied at all.  No chance of passing, but I'm not backing out either.  I'll study tonight and maybe learn my lesson and start studying earlier next time.

Who am I kidding? ;D

Tom, I was stunned when I saw the depth of information that the exam covers...but I can see the need for a skilled mead judge to know as much of it as possible. I can only hope to score in the mid 60s.
As with the beer judge exam, solid knowledge comes from layers of built-up experience - in judging, brewing, and tasting. (At least for us mere mortals)

I expect when you read this you'll have taken the exam. Hope you have a drink in your hand.  :)
I'm done. I actually found it to be easier than expected with the exception of the varietal honey question which kicked my butt.  I got lucky on some of the questions on the exam I think, so it wasn't too bad.  That is not to say that I'm going to get a 90 or even an 80.  But it's pass/fail and I only have to break 60, and I feel pretty good about that.

Re: comps, I can't judge all of the ones in my area and the problem isn't financial, it's time away from my kids.  But even if I didn't have kids, I can't see spending $400 a weekend to go judge a comp, that's crazy talk.

I'll have to think about the compensation stuff, I'm not convinced it's the way to go.  We have some in our area that pay, I've gotten as much as $80 and lunch for one session of judging at a fair.  But I've actually found these comps to be some of the worst ones for the quality of judges, people come crawling out of the woodwork to judge if they get paid for it.  Maybe if only actual BJCP judges got paid it would be different, and maybe paid by level.  I don't know though, like I said I'll have to think about it.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2011, 06:52:23 AM »
My second judging experience is now over, it was easier this time out as I'm getting the hang of it.  The ukg did a good job on the contest, and I know at least one forum person who won (johnf).

I think it's a good idea to compensate out of town judges because I'm far from any town!  Seriously, I think giving a premium to higher ranked bjcp judges makes sense, I'm attending to learn from the more experienced guys.  Any time I can judge with a national judge I learn a lot.

I hope these contests continue to be popular, and that clubs make decisions to avoid being victims of their own success.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8808
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2011, 07:35:29 AM »
Martin definitely has some very good points. I would also like to give this some thought. I agree that it can be very difficult for alot of judges to drive over a 100+ mile trip for lunch and a trinket. I know because I just judged a competition a few weeks ago over 150 miles from my home. Compensating judges by rank would be an attractive scenerio. I think some level compensation would attract more judges to competitions. This could be accomplished by increasing enty fees.

I think there has been an increasing interest in competing. Adding a few extra dollars to each entry shouldn't be a problem for most brewers. At least that's my hope. This definitely needs some more thought but I am in agreement with it in principle.
Ron Price

Offline bfogt

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2011, 03:23:17 PM »
I'm all for helping judges out.  It has (and will continue to) helped me decide what's worth the travel and time away from the family.

However, don't forget, Martin, that the Indiana Brewers' Cup is modeled after the wine competition.  My understanding is that BC still loses quite a bit of money at $10 an entry and 900 entries.  Only BJCP judges are compensated, as I understand, but pro brewers may get the stipend, too.  It's not considered a fund raiser.  I'm not sure many organizations would put on homebrew competitions if they knew they'd lose money, especially on this scale.

The Ohio State Fair has a different approach.  BJCP judges from outside a 35 mile radius are granted a comp room.  This is different in that they are part of the fair's inventory of room comps they get from putting up entertainers during the fair.  They have only a small value to the fair, but a huge value to out of town and out of state judges.  I would venture that the retail value of our room last year exceeded the stipend from the Indiana State Fair the weekend before.  And yet, it attracted fewer judges than Indiana.

I think organizers need to leverage their tourism boards in their localities more.  Cheaper rooms, more attractive family options and even just some planning beyond "Drink, Drink, Sleep" would go a long way.  That's what I've been working for up here, but I'm heading your way, Martin.  Maybe you'll see something pop up SE of you in a year or two...

Offline The Professor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 812
  • "In the next life, you're on your own"
    • View Profile
Re: Beer Comp Entries Up?
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2011, 04:46:56 PM »
Based on a dramatic increase in AHA membership, I'd say the overall hobby is up.

Nice to see that happening. 
Seems like there was a bit of a lull (a slight one, anyway) in homebrew interest there for a while especially judging by the number of LHBS' that have come and gone out my way in the last 10-15 years or so. 

I think that the availability  of better ingredients and especially  all of the info in these forums being so easily accessible probably has at least something to do with it (not to mention the high cost of a lot of the commercial brew out there).   I think that more people are finally discovering that making really good beer just isn't all that that hard to do once you get the hang of it. 

I really think that the easy availability of forums like this one have a lot to do with fueling the interest, or at the very least, encouraging the newbies to keep it going past the first batch. 
AL
New Brunswick, NJ
[499.6, 101.2] Apparent Rennerian
Homebrewer since July 1971