Society of Beer Advocates - Beer for all the right reasons

National Homebrew Competition 2019

2013 - a new approach to the NHC

Posted on October 2, 2013 by Greig McGill

Here we are, just one week until entries officially open for the SOBA National Homebrew Competition for 2013. Our systems are tweaked, our judges are confirmed, our stewards are wrangled (well, mostly!) and our amazing sponsors are on board.

This year, inspired by a great idea by Craig and Wendy at BeerNZ, we've revamped the competition prizes and sponsorship model. Craig and Wendy noticed that NHC winners often take the opportunity afforded by the publicity to turn their hand to commercial brewing, often as contract brewers.

The pair noted that the market is becoming increasingly crowded though, and while brewing beer under contract is a simple matter of a recipe, some cash, and a little marketing, the times they are a-changing. Brewers wishing to go commercial now need to be good. Really good. They need to make consistently excellent beer, and more importantly, know all about the business side and the reality of the brewing industry. The idea then, was to take the most consistent brewer and give them the opportunity and advice needed to “make it” in the crowded NZ brewing scene.

The Champion Brewer prize is a difficult one to win. One cannot merely “carpet bomb” with as many entries as possible, knowing that enough will be medal worthy to accumulate the most points. Beers scoring below a certain points threshold will have points deducted, and thus count against the score which medal winning beers accumulate. As a result, it’s not about number of beers entered, but rather consistent quality of beers entered by a single brewer.

Of course, we couldn’t have an NHC without long time supporters Steve Plowman and Joe Wood. They will brew the Champion Beer at Hallertau. The Champion Beer will not necessarily be brewed by the Champion Brewer, but if it turns out that way, the Champion Beer will be the “next runner up”. Ditto the Champion Ale and Champion Lager awards, which will receive a nice cash prize courtesy of SOBA.

In addition to live tweeting of (medal and best in class) results this year, we will also offer near-live scoring. In other words, as soon as your beers have been judged, and the score sheets scanned and entered, you’ll be able to log in and see how you did with all the judges’ comments. No more waiting weeks while the certificates are printed and mailed out with the score sheets! We hope you’ll like this little innovation from our techy guru, the talented Mr. Phil Murray.

Finally, we’re planning on accommodating the public for the first time ever at an NHC. There will be a viewing area where visitors can come and watch the (to be honest, pretty tedious looking) process of judging beer! Of course, some might just want to come along and watch the irrepressibly enthusiastic celebrity judge, Newstalk ZB’s Danny Watson, as he cuts his judging teeth on some of your finest efforts. This will be free, but will involve navigating the Ruakura Research Campus here in Hamilton to find the Agresearch Cafeteria where judging will take place! A map will be posted closer to the event.

Right, that’s the lot for now. Just under a week to go until entries open. Good luck from all of us on the SOBA NHC organizational team, and don’t forget to support our amazing sponsors.


Greig McGill SOBA NHC Organiser 2013

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