Society of Beer Advocates - Beer for all the right reasons

National Homebrew Competition 2019

2014 - Rule changes

Posted on June 30, 2014 by Greig McGill

After some controversy in 2012, we changed the rules in 2013 to bar anyone working for a commercial brewing entity from entering the NHC. I explained that change thus in the FAQ:

Why can't I enter if I work for a commercial brewery? It doesn't make me any better as a brewer or give me secret powers?

Absolutely correct. Most brewers in New Zealand are also homebrewers, or would be if they ever had the time! However, this competition is primarily aimed at amateur brewers, not those working towards or practicing commercial brewing. It's not about putting awards on your CV, it's about learning to brew great beer by competing amongst your homebrewing peers. We just didn't feel allowing commercial brewers was in the spirit of the event. We also had a lot of feedback agreeing with this, and only a couple of people disagreeing, which made it seem like the right call.

So even if I only clean out the fermenters or work in marketing at a brewery, I still can't enter?

Sorry but yes. We had to draw the line somewhere, and we drew it at "perception of commercial brewing".

After much feedback and discussion, we've decided to amend that rule, allowing such brewers to enter and simply making them ineligible to win prizes. Note that the beer still must be brewed at home, and medals and best in class can still be won here. The point is to remove the perception (however false) of someone with "an edge" taking out the big prizes whilst leaving them still able to enter and get feedback, and measure the quality and consistency of their brewing against the rest of the community.

To wit, rule 2 now reads:

  • Commercially brewed beer is not eligible for entry.
    • Home brewers who directly work for any commercial brewing entity may enter, though the beer MUST be brewed at home. These entries are eligible for medals and best in class status, but may not win prizes.

Here's hoping that makes for a better competition.


Greig McGill Organiser, SOBA NHC 2014

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