National Homebrew Competition Entry Registration Lottery

A number of changes were made to the registration process for the 2014 National Homebrew Competition with the goal of maximizing the number of American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members that can participate in the competition while reducing the stress of the first come, first served registration process of previous years. Read on to learn more about the registration process and how entries were ultimately selected for the competition.

  1. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) held a week-long open enrollment period from January 27-February 2, during which any AHA member could apply to enter the competition, indicate how many entries they wished to submit, and select a preferred judge center as well as alternate judge centers to which they were willing to send entries.
  2. At the conclusion of the open enrollment period 3,557 AHA members had applied to register for the competition. By way of comparison, the 2013 National Homebrew Competition had 2,187 entrants; thus there were 63 percent more applicants to enter the competition in 2014 than 2013 competition entrants.
  3. The list of applicants was compared to the list of 2013 National Homebrew Competition organizers, judges and stewards. Those applicants who had served as organizers, judges or stewards in the previous year’s competitions were guaranteed entries in their preferred judge center. The 2014 judge center organizers were also guaranteed entries in their preferred judge center.
  4. Next, lotteries were run on the 12 judge centers testing various entry caps to determine the best fit for the competition. To ensure fairness across the judge centers, entry caps were applied to all judge centers equally.
    1. The first pass selected applicants at random for their preferred judge center, until all entrants for that judge center were selected or the judge center reached capacity for entries.
    2. Next, we conducted a lottery of entrants that did not make it into their preferred judge center for each of the judge centers that did not hit capacity with the initial lottery. The judge centers with the most capacity were filled first. (We tested other methods for filling judge centers that hadn’t reached capacity, but this method maximized the number of entrants we could accommodate.)
  5. Using the above described lottery system, tests were run applying entry caps of three, four and five entries per entrant. We selected a cap of four entries per entrant for the following reasons.
    1. With a cap of three entries per entrant, the competition was able to accommodate more entrants than with the higher entry caps, with fewer than 100 applicants not getting into the competition. However, the three entry cap also resulted in wide variations in the number of entries per judge center, with some filling to the 750 entry capacity and others with fewer than 450 entries. Such a wide variation in entries per judge center would have created significant competitive advantages for those entrants in the judge centers with the fewest entries.
    2. With a cap of five entries per entrant, all of the judge centers could be filled to the 750 entry capacity. However, the five entry cap resulted in more than 400 applicants not getting into the competition.
    3. With a cap of four entries per entrant, all but just over 250 (7%) of the applicants could be accommodated and eight of the 12 judge centers filled to capacity. The judge center with the fewest entries still had more than 600 entries. The AHA chose to go with the four entry cap as the best compromise of accommodating the most members wishing to enter while avoiding significant variation in competitive advantage among judge centers.
  6. The entrants that were selected in the lottery are being notified of their status on Tuesday, February 11 and Wednesday, February 12 in staggered groups to avoid overloading the competition management software. Those entrants have through Thursday, February 13 and Friday, February 14 respectively to pay for their entries.
  7. Following the payment deadlines, unpaid entries will be eliminated from the competition and those entry spots will be assigned to registration applicants who were not accepted into the original registration group via random lottery. All such registrants will be notified that their entries have been accepted into the competition between Tuesday, February 18 and Wednesday, February 19.
  8. Any applicants that are not accepted into the competition after the above process will be notified by February 20.
Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association