An Extended AHA Partnership
The BJCP and the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) recently entered into a joint agreement intended to leverage resources with the goal of expediting the exam grading process and providing more grader training.
Jeff Sanders, Assistant Communication Director
> American Homebrewers Association (AHA) will receive, check, scan, and electronically distribute exams for the BJCP to expedite Exam Grading Administrative tasks
> AHA is also providing financial assistance to the BJCP's CEP program to cover travel costs for training for graders
> BJCP judges and stewards wishing to guarantee entry in the 2015 National Homebrew Competition should judge at a 2014 first round site

The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) have entered into an extended partnership as of November 2013.

In 2013, the AHA, who runs the National Homebrewers Conference and its associated competition, ran into some challenges with the registration for its competition. Recognizing the significant involvement of BJCP judges, guidelines, and other resources in the competition, AHA Director Gary Glass approached BJCP President Gordon Strong as to how the two organizations could better work together in the future to overcome those challenges.

As Glass wrote in the November/December 2013 issue of Zymurgy magazine, the AHA’s periodical:

“As a show of support for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), a volunteer-run, non-profit association that tests and certifies beer judges, the AHA will be assisting the BJCP to fulfill administrative tasks and provide financial resources for BJCP trainer staff travel. This offer of support is intended to allow the BJCP to offer more judge exams to more prospective judges and help us reach our mutual goal of adding to the pool of judges available to judge the more than 400 AHA-BJCP sanctioned homebrew competitions that are held every year, including the AHA National Homebrew Competition.”

Explaining a portion of the administrative tasks, BJCP President Gordon Strong wrote that the AHA’s support helps to address “one of the more tedious parts of the exam process: receiving, checking, scanning, and distributing digital copies of the exams to exam administrators.” He also noted that help with such tasks makes it possible for the exams to be distributed electronically to graders with higher quality scanning and legibility, and will reduce the time spent with exam files in the mail. Strong also noted the role of the AHA will be limited to those functions, not originating exams or processing results, and that with the AHA’s assistance, graders and exam directors will have more time to focus on the main part of their job.

The BJCP’s Continuing Education Program will also receive assistance from the AHA. Education Director Randy Scorby has sought to focus on additional training for graders, including in person training and seminars. The AHA will provide financial assistance for the Exam Directorate and CEP Directorate to travel to deliver such training with the goal of helping to increase the quality of grading as well as the number of graders.

As the BJCP grows, the ability to reduce the return time of exams, while also providing accurate grading of exams, and scale to meet those needs is a prime focus.

In the January/February 2014 issue of Zymurgy, Glass wrote that the 2014 National Homebrew Competition will:

  • limit the number of entries to six entries per person
  • limit entries to only AHA members
  • guarantee entry for judges, stewards, and competition organizers from the 2013 competition
  • utilize the BJCP’s checklist scoresheets in the hopes that the use of the scoresheets will allow for more entries to be judged at first round sites
  • utilize a lottery-based registration to provide more opportunity for a greater number of brewers to enter

With these changes in place, BJCP judges or stewards who wish to guarantee an entry in the 2015 National Homebrew Competition can do so by judging or stewarding at any of the 2014 first round competition sites.


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