Author Topic: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support  (Read 7556 times)

Offline koelschbrewer

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #60 on: May 04, 2011, 09:37:15 AM »
It appears as if NY is still not done judging their beers after well over a month. Clearly, the entrants in that region are significantly disadvantaged going into the second round, making the entire competition somewhat of an unfair event. Also clearly, the buck needs to stop with the AHA - it's their choice to use an external judging system that has been terribly backlogged (and that I greatly dislike). And it's the AHA's signature competition. There is little that can be done now, but would appreciate a statement from the governing committee on these issues sooner rather than later, including how these issues will be addressed next year... I also think something needs to be done for those NY entrants, many of whom spent long hours brewing and hundreds of dollars in entry and shipping fees, just to find out that their beers were, at best, unprofessionally judged and improperly stored.

Offline markaberrant

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #61 on: May 04, 2011, 02:51:35 PM »
I also think something needs to be done for those NY entrants, many of whom spent long hours brewing and hundreds of dollars in entry and shipping fees, just to find out that their beers were, at best, unprofessionally judged and improperly stored.

What exactly do you suggest should be done for the entrants?

And how do you know they were unprofessionally judged and improperly stored?

I am pretty sure a lot of people are disappointed and upset with the delays this year, and as an organizer myself I would assume the AHA and the local NY organizers are the ones taking it the hardest, so maybe just lay off on the griping and hand wringing until the dust has settled.

Offline johnf

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #62 on: May 04, 2011, 03:04:48 PM »


And how do you know they were unprofessionally judged and improperly stored?


There are plenty of stories out of there. No stewards, stopping judging a category in the middle one night (after many of the entries had been opened) and finished in the morning, generally a cluster. Assuming half this stuff is true...

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #63 on: May 04, 2011, 03:05:32 PM »
I also think something needs to be done for those NY entrants, many of whom spent long hours brewing and hundreds of dollars in entry and shipping fees, just to find out that their beers were, at best, unprofessionally judged and improperly stored.

What exactly do you suggest should be done for the entrants?

And how do you know they were unprofessionally judged and improperly stored?

I am pretty sure a lot of people are disappointed and upset with the delays this year, and as an organizer myself I would assume the AHA and the local NY organizers are the ones taking it the hardest, so maybe just lay off on the griping and hand wringing until the dust has settled.

WOW He is entitled to his opinion, don't you think?

Offline markaberrant

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #64 on: May 04, 2011, 05:59:12 PM »
WOW He is entitled to his opinion, don't you think?

Absolutely.  Clearly there is a problem.  But also accept that these are volunteers doing their best.  Again, as an organizer, I take it very personally when the slightest glitch occurs at a competition.  I can't imagine how badly the organizers in NY must feel right now.  All of the people that have been piling on, who supposedly know what happened and are looking for a pound of flesh, are not helping one damn bit.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 06:13:39 PM by markaberrant »

Offline bluesman

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #65 on: May 04, 2011, 06:52:35 PM »
This is clearly an unfortunate sequence of events as Saratogo Springs is still in the process of finishing up their round of judging. I for one am disappointed that it had to come down this way, as I have multiple beers that I've entered there. For whatever the reasons this may have happened we must wait. There are many of us that want to rebrew and were waiting for the final results in order to determine what if any entries we needed to rebrew. There are some unknowns and these may or may not have impacted the final outcome.

Until we get a better understanding of the actual issues that impacted the delay and the impending outcome of the competition it is in everyones best interests to refrain from speculating and fingerpointing as it will not change anything at this point.

I am hopeful yet confident that there was due diligence on the part of the competition organizers and judges that volunteered their time and efforts in Saratoga Springs. I know a few of the judges and can vouch for their great professionalism and  work ethic. I am also confident that the situation there was handled professionally despite the fact that they were faced with a straining situation.

Let's all keep our hats on and hope that this situation will come to a soft landing as we near the final round.
Ron Price

Offline bfogt

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #66 on: May 04, 2011, 07:25:27 PM »
I'm with Martin on the need for an incentive for attracting judges to the NHC.  My favorite "compensation package" to date was a comped room for the Ohio State Fair last year.  To them it had no actual cost since they were earned rewards (like points) from putting up acts during the fair.  Hotel costs seem to fluctuate widely depending on the site and convention schedule.  And hotel rooms aren't as attractive to locals who can just go home. 

I really like the Indy site at Sun King.  I'm not sure why more BA members aren't using the opportunity to get their name out to the masses.  Even if they aren't an official sponsor, having 600 brewers send beer to your address, or stop by, has got to be good for a brand.  And I think that a tasting room provides and instant after-party.  Frankly, I'm surprised that this is not the norm.  Maybe the AHA/BA relationship needs to be leveraged more.  But our local brewery isn't showing interest in getting more involved in a small competition attached to beer festival which they are completely involved in.  If they did, the competition would be bigger, as would the festival.

Offline pedro

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #67 on: May 04, 2011, 08:44:15 PM »
Having 750 entries to judge in a single competition is a ton of beer to get through - what about cutting this in half but doubling the sites?  You'd give more people the opportunity to get involved and less distance for people to have to ship their entries to.  Aside from having to coordinate more sites on the part of the AHA about the only downside I can see if having the added expense of additional conference rooms.  However, many venues would chip in the room for no charge if you are hiring their catering services, so this might be a wash.   Or someone made the suggestion about the BA doing a better job engaging the commercial guys to step up and help out. Surely the AHA know where the entries are coming in from - if there is a hot-bed of entries originating from a particular area, there's a good chance that area has a good corps of judges, and a well run competition.

While I think the change to letting you enter whatever region you choose this year was a great move, the whole Saratoga Springs fiasco is crazy.  I'm still waiting for my scoresheets.  And having contacted the AHA last year after the North-East Region filled-up to capacity and making a case for a 1st Round NHC site in New England, it's very disappointing.  I hope this serves as a wake-up call.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #68 on: May 04, 2011, 09:46:39 PM »
Having 750 entries to judge in a single competition is a ton of beer to get through - what about cutting this in half but doubling the sites?  You'd give more people the opportunity to get involved and less distance for people to have to ship their entries to.  Aside from having to coordinate more sites on the part of the AHA about the only downside I can see if having the added expense of additional conference rooms.
This would also double the number of entries in the second round.  That would cause real problems there.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline james

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #69 on: May 05, 2011, 12:10:16 AM »
This would also double the number of entries in the second round.  That would cause real problems there.

I think it is going to be hard to come up with a solution to make everyone happy.  I've seen suggestions of a 3 tier round, but that is only going to increase costs.  Another idea is to go the way of MCAB and have all the registered competitions be qualifiers

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #70 on: May 05, 2011, 12:45:58 AM »
This would also double the number of entries in the second round.  That would cause real problems there.

I think it is going to be hard to come up with a solution to make everyone happy.  I've seen suggestions of a 3 tier round, but that is only going to increase costs.  Another idea is to go the way of MCAB and have all the registered competitions be qualifiers
True, it will be very difficult to find a solution to please everyone.  But you can't please the entrants at the expense of the judges.  Doubling the entries for the second round would require either a LOT more judges or a second day of judging in the second round.  That has additional costs and puts additional strain on the judges.  There's 28 categories, 3 entries from each region, 10 regions . . . 840 entries.  You want to double that for one day of judging?  I don't see it happening.  And the MCAB format has its own implementation problems.

I'm not saying that things are perfect as is, so it's great to see new ideas coming out.  But the ideas have to fix more problems than they create for the competition as a whole.  As the conference grows so will the judge pool, and I think it might be feasible to add a region.  That can help.

But the competition keeps growing, creating larger challenges for the organizers.  What really needs to happen is people need to step up and volunteer to help get things done.  Every two additional judges is ~20 entries finished on a day of judging.  This is a hobby, and we all contribute what we can, when we can.  But you can't be sitting on your couch while the judging is going on down the street.  If you enter competitions, you should be prepared to judge.  If everyone who entered judged, we could finish all comps in one session.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline james

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #71 on: May 05, 2011, 01:04:48 AM »
True, it will be very difficult to find a solution to please everyone.  But you can't please the entrants at the expense of the judges.  Doubling the entries for the second round would require either a LOT more judges or a second day of judging in the second round.  That has additional costs and puts additional strain on the judges.  There's 28 categories, 3 entries from each region, 10 regions . . . 840 entries.  You want to double that for one day of judging?  I don't see it happening.  And the MCAB format has its own implementation problems.

I'm not saying that things are perfect as is, so it's great to see new ideas coming out.  But the ideas have to fix more problems than they create for the competition as a whole.  As the conference grows so will the judge pool, and I think it might be feasible to add a region.  That can help.

But the competition keeps growing, creating larger challenges for the organizers.  What really needs to happen is people need to step up and volunteer to help get things done.  Every two additional judges is ~20 entries finished on a day of judging.  This is a hobby, and we all contribute what we can, when we can.  But you can't be sitting on your couch while the judging is going on down the street.  If you enter competitions, you should be prepared to judge.  If everyone who entered judged, we could finish all comps in one session.

Get some sleep man :)

With the upcoming changes to the test it should make it easier to get more recognized/certified judges in, but I bet a lot of them are already judging as non-bjcp.

I think this is just an interim time where the ratio of entries to judges is high.  In a few years I suspect that there will be enough judges in every region to bang through the entries in a day or two.  Then in a few more years it will Ebb the other way.

Props to all the judges, proctors, organizers, staff, etc. who are making this all happen.  It can be a thankless job but you are all making it happen

Offline johnf

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #72 on: May 05, 2011, 06:09:53 AM »

But the competition keeps growing, creating larger challenges for the organizers.  What really needs to happen is people need to step up and volunteer to help get things done.  Every two additional judges is ~20 entries finished on a day of judging.  This is a hobby, and we all contribute what we can, when we can.  But you can't be sitting on your couch while the judging is going on down the street.  If you enter competitions, you should be prepared to judge.  If everyone who entered judged, we could finish all comps in one session.

As I like to say, there is nearly one BJCP member for every entry in the first round.

The ultimate problem is judges not coming out. Travel is a hardship and all that but in Dallas, which has a large local pool of judges, they struggled.

The other side of the coin is that I think there are a lot of people who basically only enter the NHC and would get at least equally good scoresheets from a good regional competition.

But yeah, participation is growing at a rate faster than volunteering, and that doesn't work. I do not think the participation will grow this fast forever so the question isn't how do we grow this fast every year, but how to we make sure next year goes better than this year did. I think the trick is choosing the sites that make the most sense. Go back to Atlanta (keep using Nashville if you want, we don't need geographical diversity under the current rules), use an East Coast site on the Acela Express line, avoid Dallas unless the proximity to Blue Bonnet changes.

Offline bluesman

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #73 on: May 05, 2011, 06:40:50 AM »

But the competition keeps growing, creating larger challenges for the organizers.  What really needs to happen is people need to step up and volunteer to help get things done.  Every two additional judges is ~20 entries finished on a day of judging.  This is a hobby, and we all contribute what we can, when we can.  But you can't be sitting on your couch while the judging is going on down the street.  If you enter competitions, you should be prepared to judge.  If everyone who entered judged, we could finish all comps in one session.

As I like to say, there is nearly one BJCP member for every entry in the first round.

The ultimate problem is judges not coming out. Travel is a hardship and all that but in Dallas, which has a large local pool of judges, they struggled.

The other side of the coin is that I think there are a lot of people who basically only enter the NHC and would get at least equally good scoresheets from a good regional competition.

But yeah, participation is growing at a rate faster than volunteering, and that doesn't work. I do not think the participation will grow this fast forever so the question isn't how do we grow this fast every year, but how to we make sure next year goes better than this year did. I think the trick is choosing the sites that make the most sense. Go back to Atlanta (keep using Nashville if you want, we don't need geographical diversity under the current rules), use an East Coast site on the Acela Express line, avoid Dallas unless the proximity to Blue Bonnet changes.

This is my thinking as well.

For me to judge my region, I would have to drive over 20 hrs round trip. It's a logistics issue that kept me from judging the first round this year. I think we should target the vicinity of locations that have a higher density of judges. This should add more more judging horsepower to the regional judging centers.
Ron Price

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: National Homebrewing Competition Fees and Support
« Reply #74 on: May 05, 2011, 10:17:20 AM »
For me to judge my region, I would have to drive over 20 hrs round trip. It's a logistics issue that kept me from judging the first round this year. I think we should target the vicinity of locations that have a higher density of judges. This should add more more judging horsepower to the regional judging centers.
I agree, but here's the problem - there is not a big fight among regions over who gets to host the first round.  Often Janis has to recruit volunteers to run things so as far as "choosing the sites" goes, sometimes we've got to go with who we can get.  Some people have more experience and are better organized than others, some can get more judges, etc.  These are all factors to consider, but you don't always know if people will be capable of pulling it off until you give them a chance.  Ultimately, you can't force any region to host the competition.

It's the same with the conference, people may complain that it goes to certain regions too often but it's not like there are 10 bids submitted each year for the AHA to choose from.  There's a lot of work that goes in to these events, and sometimes people get burned out.  We can't just "go back to Atlanta" unless someone there is willing to run the show for nothing other than a love of the hobby.
Tom Schmidlin