The 2016 BJCP Annual Report is now available.
Click on the sections below to read each section of the report.
By Gordon Strong, Mid-Atlantic Rep and BJCP President
Please read the reports from each directorate for more detail and perspective on their respective activities. I will focus on board level activities and major efforts across the program, while also highlighting some of the important achievements within the directorates.
I also want to draw your attention to some of the materials on the new BJCP web site (dev.bjcp.org, a temporary name until we are finished with the migration), including the list of news items, board votes, and policies. The news items start on the main page, and the board votes and policies are within the About/Governance section.
While the number of exams given has leveled off, the total number of judges in the program continues to grow. We passed the 10,000 judge mark this year, and stood at 10,165 judges at year end. The number of active judges increased by about 16 year over year, while exams slightly decreased from the record in 2015 but are still strong at over 1300.
The board has introduced additional measured discussed in last year’s report, such as adding assistant regional representatives. We now have 15 assistant representatives. See our new Officer’s page on the new web site to meet them. We also formalized job descriptions for these positions.
We created a new Finance Directorate, and the position of Finance Director to work with the Treasurer. We are fortunate to have former Treasurer Al Boyce continue in this role. BJCP finances remain strong and growing, and we are able to invest in new projects or respond to unforeseen needs.
International growth remains very strong, with new exams given in China, the Czech Republic, and Ecuador, and several new countries planned for 2017. The BJCP is now active in 44 countries. The online exam is available in Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese. Exams are being graded natively in Spanish and Portuguese, and the BJCP has an in-house translation capability for Polish, Italian, French, German, and Chinese.
International membership is growing at a faster rate than domestic regional membership, so we are evaluating the current regional structure. Some re-alignment or restructuring of the regions is possible this year once elections are concluded.
The BJCP continues to have a strong presence at the AHA National Homebrew Conference, running multiple exams (one of each type, including a pilot cider exam), holding a judge reception and training event, holding an exam proctor training session, and having a member’s meeting. The AHA continues to provide great support to the BJCP through allowing us space at their conference, and also supporting the scanning of our exams.
The 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines have been fully incorporated into the program, and are being used for exams and competitions. The documents have been translated into several languages, and the printed version is now available through a new printing provider. An online version has been created on the new web site.
The development of the cider exam continues. Several articles written by Michael Wilcox have been published, and are the start of the study materials for the exam. The basic exam format has been validated, and an online exam is being tested. Once the study guide is finished, we expect to launch the program.
The turnaround time on exams continues to improve, with more exams being closed within our target timeframe. While a few areas still seem to have strong demand, many exams are being given now with empty seats and we’ve had a few cancellations due to not meeting the minimum examinee count. The quarterly written exam format continues to work well. Two new exam policies were introduced this year, the Exam Retake Policy and the Exam Protest Policy to help control the workload of volunteer graders.
The web site migration continues, but there is a lot of new and revised content on the new web site, including greatly expanded FAQs. Program documents are being restructured and reorganized as part of the web site migration, and some have been updated with recommendations from past efforts on ethics and accommodating judges with disabilities.
Education and Training
The new training portal was launched, and is being used for new grader training.
The newsletter is now being published on the new web site, and the BJCP Facebook page is quite active.
Exam director Tom Cannon retired from the exam program this year after 10 years of service, and grading 2922 exams. Thanks for your exemplary service, Tom.
By The Exam Directors
The Exam Directorate’s activities are almost completely focused on BJCP exams and grading them. Of those activities, grading consumes the bulk of the staff’s time as well as the efforts of all the graders.
As always, we need more qualified exam graders. Any active judge of National or higher rank is eligible to be an exam grader. To volunteer, send an email to email@example.com. In addition, we really need experienced graders to continue grading. We seem to always be short of Lead Graders.
If you already are a grader, thank you for your service but remember that we only assign you sets to grade when you ask for them. You must tell us when you want to be added to the schedule.
Accomplishments in 2016
- We worked with the BJCP Training Directorate to develop online training for exam graders. This training is available to all judges of National or higher rank. As of February 24, 2017, 59 judges have passed the online training. Judges completing the training receive non-judging experience points and receive credit for grading six exams.
- In the summer of 2016, we announced that as of January 1, 2017 all graders would have to complete the training to stay on the active grader list. We have decided to delay the implementation of that requirement. We will give preference to graders that have completed the training and we still continue to recommend that all graders complete the training. We will continue to require the training for new graders entering the program.
- The Quarterly Geographically Dispersed Written Proficiency Exam and the Beer Written Proficiency Exam offered at the AHA conference have become the main ways judges have been taking the beer written exam. Only active exam graders are allowed to administer the quarterly exam. In 2016, the only non-quarterly written exam was at the AHA conference. While sites can still schedule a local written exam, demand has been lacking.
- The BJCP is now active in over 40 countries.
- A total of 1358 BJCP exams were given during 2016 versus:
- 1429 in 2015
- 1271 in 2014
- 1078 in 2013
- 885 in 2012
- The exams were given at 152 locations in 2016 versus:
- 165 in 2015
- 128 in 2014
- 100 in 2013
- 89 in 2012
- The 2016 total includes 25 locations and 46 people taking the Written Proficiency Exam as part of the quarterly program.
- The yearly breakdown of exam types:
- 1194 Beer Judging Exams
- 50 Written Proficiency Exams
- 104 Mead Exams
- 10 Trial Cider Exams
- International growth continues to be strong, with new exams given in Prague, Beijing, and Quito. In 2017, we will be adding Poland, Costa Rica, Columbia and Wales as new countries. The international exam breakout in 2016 was:
- 173 in Central and South America
- 107 in Europe
- 47 is Australia
- 41 in Asia
- 22 in South Africa
- 10 Mead Exams
- Nearly 5000 people have passed the Beer Entrance Exam since the program was implemented in April of 2012. The online entrance exam has been converted to the 2015 Style Guidelines and is available in Chinese, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The 2016 entrance exam statistics are:
- 1046 people passed the online Beer Entrance Exam.
- 120 people passed the online Mead Entrance Exam.
- The exam trend appears to have peaked in 2015. In 2016, we saw more sites cancelling exams at the last minute due to lack of interest. We also experienced more sites unable to fill all the seats allocated for their site, sometimes falling below our minimum number of examinees (six).
- As of this date (February 2017) the exam calendar has openings in every month of 2018 and beyond.
- Exams are being graded natively in Spanish and Portuguese, and the BJCP has in-house translation capability to accommodate exams written in Chinese, Polish, Italian, French or German.
- While we put significant effort into getting material ready for the BJCP’s new (dev) web site, that site did not rollout in 2016.
By Bruce Buerger, Committee Chair
Progress continues on the Cider Judge Program. This past year we successfully completed our third trial Cider Judging Examination in Baltimore. The key achievement here was further verifying the structure and format of the exam, the testing of non-committee members administering the exam, and further building of the grader pool once the participants take and pass the Cider Judging Entrance Exam.
Once released, the Cider Judge Program will follow the same online / tasting format that both Beer and Mead do. Participants will first need to pass the Cider Judge Entrance Exam to qualify for taking the Cider Judging Examination. After the participant passes the Cider Judging Examination they would be considered a Cider Judge, or if already a Beer Judge, a Beer Judge with a Cider Judge Endorsement.
We’re very happy to announce that the question pool for the Cider Judge Entrance Exam has been delivered to the Exam Directorate and that we’re about to begin online trials. The pool consists of just over 1,900 true / false, multiple choice, and multiple answer questions. Question topics include: Cider Judge Program, Judging Procedures / Ethics, Cider Style Guidelines,Apple / Pear Varietals, Characteristics of Ingredients, Cider Faults, and Process Control.
Work has also begun on the Cider Judging Exam Study Guide, as well as the reviewing of materials by those in the cider community. Once we’ve received feedback from the cider community and deliver the final versions of the Entrance Exam and Study Guide to the Exam Directorate, the program will be ready to launch. At present, we’re still targeting a 2017 launch.
For those of you who are interested in becoming Cider Judges and are looking for initial study materials we would suggest the following:
Craft Cider Making, Andrew Lea
The New Cider Maker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Craft Producers, Claude Jolicoeur
Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own, Ben Watson
Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider, Annie Proulx & Lew Nichols
Acidity in Cider and Perry, Michael Wilcox
Judging C2: Specialty Cider and Perry, Michael Wilcox
Elements of Balance in Cider and Perry, Michael Wilcox
Understanding Malolactic Fermentation (MLF), Michael Wilcox
By David Houseman, Competition Director
BJCP competitions and opportunities for BJCP judges to judge grew in 2016. The total number of competitions grew from 626 in 2025 to 688 in 2016, a 10 of the AHA/BJCP Sanctioned Competitions were held outside the USA, with the largest growth to our south from Mexico through Argentina. In 2016, we had competitions geographically dispersed as follows:
Czech Republic 1
*Hong Kong 4
United Kingdom 7
South Africa 10
United States 510
*New BJCP country of presence
BJCP judges are encouraged to hold competition organizers’ feet to the fire to get their organizer reports submitted on time; this is the only way points can be awarded. So, keep an eye out for your points after judging, and if you see that you haven’t got your points within 21 days, contact the organizer.
We receive many questions each year from brewers and organizers about who can enter a competition. The simple answer is that the BJCP does not manage individual competitions; that is up to each competition. The BJCP only requires that judging be fair and blind, to objective standards with feedback to the entrants. So long as judging is fair and blind, it doesn’t matter if judges enter the competition in which they judge, although they should not judge categories in which they have entered. Organizers can enter their own competitions but should have no control over who judges their beers. Someone may be a professional brewer for a living but brew at home for a hobby and thus enter competitions as a homebrewer with those beers brewed at home. Competitions may limit entries to their own club members, or from within their state (often the case for state fairs), or restrict styles, or otherwise manage their own rules beyond the simple BJCP rules. But if there are any questions, feel free to contact the Competition Director.
By Bruce Buerger, Education and Training Director
Notable changes and accomplishments from 2016 include:
- Amanda Burkemper and Julie Lawson have joined the directorate as Assistant Education Directors.
- Kristen England has rejoined the directorate as an Educational Liaison.
- Randy Scorby is continuing in the directorate as an Assistant Education Director.
- Built and deployed the BJCP Training Portal – http://training.bjcp.org.
- In conjunction with the Exam Directorate, rolled out the first installment of the Grader Training Program. To date 60 members have completed the training.
- Conducted a Judging Exam proctor training seminar at NHC in Baltimore.
- Processed over 150 sensory kit orders for members and upcoming exams.
2017 will bring additional changes and achievements as the Education and Training Directorate (ETD) continues to re-shape its strategic direction and utilize the functionality that the training portal offers.
The coming months will see the conclusion of the effort to rebrand the Continuing Education Program to the Education and Training Directorate (ETD). This effort has been in the works for some time as the Directorate evolves from reviewing and promoting educational content to participating in the production and conducting of it. Upcoming changes include a re-definition of the Directorate’s functions, simplifying course types, clarifying the course submission and approval process, and re-structuring the point award structure. The effort will also include the migration of the Directorate’s content from the legacy BJCP website to the new site that’s currently under development.
The addition of Amanda and Julie to the Directorate will help us with developing some of the content and offerings that the membership can expect to see from us going forward. Amanda brings her experience in conducting educational events for the Kansas City Bier Meisters and Julie brings her time as both a professional trainer and a leader of some of the Beer Barons of Milwaukee’s training offerings. In the coming months, their initial effort, Judge Training In A Box, will be published on the ETD pages of the new BJCP website. These kits are aimed at helping members develop beer and mead judge training programs at the local level. Their next task will be to develop a new offering, learning competencies, which will be available via the new training portal. These competencies will consist of content that a member would review prior to taking a quiz. Upon the successful completion of the quiz members would earn ETD credit. The first two competency offerings will focus on Sour Beers and Belgian Beers.
In addition to the new efforts to produce educational content the ETD has also instituted some changes to make it easier for members to produce and conduct their own courses. Former Education Director and Professional Brewer Kristen England has rejoined the ETD as an Education Liaison. This newly created position is an expansion of the Regional Trainer Coordinator role that will expand to a global focus and work with the Assistant Regional Reps (ARR) and local members on training initiatives. Kristen will also serve as a global training coordinator in relation to educational components of conferences and events that partner with the BJCP, as well as be the point person for coaching and reviewing BJCP member submitted courses. Within the next couple of months we will be rolling out a new member course submission form which should help streamline the member offered course approval process. Stay tuned for the announcement pertaining to the rollout of this change as well as the details around what Kristen has in store for us at the upcoming AHA conference in Minneapolis.
Sensory kit orders by members continue to be strong, and we’re very fortunate to have Randy Scorby serving as point person for coordinating this effort. During his time with the Directorate, Randy has guided us through the redesign of the kits and the new ordering process due to a vendor change by Siebel. Randy will continue to focus on the fulfillment of the kits and addressing any new needs associated with international growth.
The Grader Training program is continuing to evolve with the focus now turning to the Beer Written Proficiency Exam Grader Training Course. Dennis Mitchell and Jim Koebel are working on developing some questions that resemble ones on the current exam. The idea being to give course takers as close of an experience to grading a written exam without using the actual questions from the exam. Once the questions have been completed the next step will be to work with the Exam Directorate to develop examples of different answer levels.
We also have a few other things in the works for the Training Portal, including some training around the 2015 Styles and building upon the Proctor training conducted in Baltimore at NHC. Finally, we will be looking to roll out the Vocabulary Project towards the end of this year.
By Al Boyce, Finance Director
- Exam Fees: 102% of budgeted amount. 164 exam sites in 2015 vs. 165 in 2015. 786 New Judging Exams, 296 Judging Retakes, 65 Written Retakes, 37 New Mead Exams, 56 Existing Member Mead Exams.
- Contest Certification Fees: 114% of budgeted amount. 691 contests held in 2016 vs. 631 in 2015. 127 2017 contests registered in 2016.
- Merchandise Receipts: 21% of budgeted amount – all Rank pins.
- PayPal Interest: Haven’t received this for awhile
- Misc. Income: 16% of budgeted amount Moved AHA/BJCP Judge Reception receipt accounting to it’s own income line.
- Returned Checks: $0
- Savings Acct: 132% of budgeted amount. Interest from Savings Acct. 2016 Balance – $145,564.71
- WRS Reimbursement: 50% of budgeted amount. Payments from US Court from Bill Slack: $60
- Siebel Flavor Kits: 160% of budgeted amount
- Online Exams: 149% of budgeted amount.
- Grader Incentive Program: Not in the 2016 budget. Received $2125 from AHA.
- BJCP/AHA Reception: Broke out from MISC – received $3610.
- AHA SCP Fees: No longer being charged
- BJCP Grants: No BJCP Grants awarded in 2016
- Continuing Education Program: 122% of budgeted amount. Added Board, AHA staff travel stipends to this item.
- Legal Fees: None in 2015
- Merchandise: 105.5 for Judge Name Badges.
- Miscellaneous: 106.3% of budgeted amount. Rep meals at NHC, Rep brunch at GABF, NHC staff travel stipends, Board Rep travel stipends
- Office Supplies: 2.2% of budgeted amount.
- PayPal Fees: 123.4% of budgeted amount . Self explanatory.
- PO Box Rental and Forwarding: PO Box was paid in 2015 for 2016
- Postage: No postage costs in 2016 – all postage was accounted for in Exam Program expense item
- Printing: No printing costs in 2016 – all printing was accounted for in Exam Program expense item
- Recognition: None in 2016
- Exam Program: 252.6% of budgeted amount. Proctor travel, Exam admin reimbursement, Dropbox reimbursement, Regis exam pmt, AHA Judge/Grader payments, and exam translations
- Shipping Merchandise: None in 2016. (What shipping there was was bundled into Exam Admin reimbursement in Exam Program expenses)
- Surety Bond: 95.8% of budgeted amount. Renegotiated new Surety Bond to bring insured amount up to $120,000.
- Telephone: None in 2016.
- Website Development and Domain Renewal: 9.4% of budgeted amount. (Received bill for $3400 on 12/30/16 – paid in January 2017)
- Savings Account: No expenses.
- Siebel Flavor Kits: 49.81% of budgeted amount. Went to a less-expensive, “slimmed down” flavor kit.
- Online Exam Fees: 100.8% of budgeted amount.
Exam Program Finances
There were 166 BJCP Written or Tasting Exams scheduled in 2016, one more than in 2015; 18 exams were cancelled. Exams were administered to 1240 people – 147 less than 2015 (an average of 7.5 tests per site). A total of $30,681.00 was collected for exams – ALL paid via PayPal. This was 102 of what was budgeted. As of the end of 2016, we had 155 exams scheduled for 2017, and 22 exams scheduled for 2018. The counts above are based on the number of payments made to the BJCP and may differ slightly from the counts reported by the Exam Directorate.
Competition Program Finances
The BJCP sanctioned 691 competitions in 2016, 9.5 of what was budgeted. As of December 31, we had 127 competitions already scheduled for 2017.
Siebel Flavor Kits
The other significant source of income (and expense) for the BJCP was Siebel Flavor kits. We received $11,900 in income for Siebel kits. We spent $16,239.25 for these 159 of these kits, including shipping and handling. These kits are subsidized by the BJCP. Approved CEP Exam Prep courses may buy them for $50, BJCP members may buy them for $100. Actual cost to the BJCP is about $110.78, including shipping.
Other Expenses for 2016
The BJCP paid $1129.06 for website development in 2016. We received another bill on Dec 31 for about $3400 that was paid in 2017. The BJCP spent $8724.71 on the BJCP reception at the HomebrewCon in Baltimore.
By Mike Dixon, Communication Director
Accomplishments in 2016
In 2016, we ordered 665 badges, and the total cost was $6,157.25. Shipping costs increased slightly within the United States, but USPS changes caused all countries, even those in North American, to be under international rates which along with the increase for various clasp options, caused the average cost per badge to be $9.25. Twenty-three percent of the badges ordered in 2016 were delivered outside of the US. The clasp options, which were first offered in 2014, have been very popular in 2016; sixty percent of judges selected the lanyard or magnet, and forty percent of judges selected the traditional clasp.
Dennis Mitchell became Assistant Communication Director in 2015 and immediately took over the email and newsletter as his primary duties. The newsletter was moved to the new BJCP dev website and changed to a blog format. Dennis worked with our website consultant to establish the revised look and feel of the newsletter. Once the website is fully migrated in 2017, the content will appear without the dev prefix. Dennis devised a Google-based sheet which was utilized in the 2016 elections and streamlined the nomination and endorsement processes for those elections. We are using those resources for the 2017 elections. Over the past year, Dennis has been integrated into other duties; in June 2017, he will assume a more comprehensive role for the Communication Directorate.
Toby Guidry became an Assistant Communication Director in 2016 and has been working with Dennis with the email system and newsletter. His role will be expanded in 2017, and he is part of the 2017 Election Committee.
Our Facebook group membership grew to over 4,100 members, and we typically approve a new person every day. The vast majority of the members are existing judges, those waiting to take a taste exam, or those interested in the program. Since we have a wide base of participants on Facebook from around the world, we have established rules which strive to keep discussions civil and on point. We had several spammers try to join in the past and implemented more stringent membership approval rules for those countries where the spammers asking to join originated. We occasionally have spam posts, but members have been quick to report the posts for violation, and we have banned the spammers. It is worth noting the only official Facebook outlet is the BJCP Facebook Group.
Our Twitter account has continued to grow in 2016 and now has over 1,800 followers. Followers should remember that while @BJCP_Official may be mentioned by any Twitter member, only tweets originating from the account represent the official stance of the BJCP.
Our LinkedIn group has over 1,500 members, but it does not enjoy the lively discussion and traffic often found on Facebook. Official notices to members are posted on LinkedIn.
Forum membership increased in 2016 to 1,800 members. The email based opt-in methodology in conjunction with a style related question has almost eliminated spammers trying to become forum members. Inactive accounts are deleted after a year has passed without responding to the opt-in email and the number of deletions per year is less than ten with the opt-in system.
With the publication of the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, we had many app requests and granted several. Five iPhone apps and two Android apps have been developed for the guidelines and those are available on the BJCP Forum. Several guideline translations are underway in many different languages; once complete, those will be listed on the website. There were numerous copyright requests in 2016, and those have been approved on a case-by-case basis.
In 2016, the requests for IDs and passwords were handled as quickly as possible to allow judges to use their IDs for competition or to gain access to the database. It is important for judges to maintain their record with the correct mailing and email address so we can contact you. Judges with missing or bouncing emails appear on the bad address report.
We continue to look for volunteers who would like to contribute to the newsletter or any of the Communication Directorate’s efforts.
On a final note, I am retiring my position as Communication Director at the end of May 2017, and Dennis Mitchell will be taking over as Director. It has been my pleasure to serve as a BJCP staff member for the past nine years and watch the program grow. When I took over the position in 2008 the organization had around 2,500 judges, and the BJCP has now given exams to over 10,000 individuals worldwide. Our communication has changed from usenet, forums, and email to primarily social media and our emailed newsletter. Under Dennis, the Communication Directorate will continue to find new means to engage our members and those interested in the program. While I am still excited about the future of the BJCP, I have been planning this retirement for almost three years. When I assumed the duties, there was no playbook and I wanted to ensure my successor was ready to hit the ground running in a seamless fashion. Thank you to everyone who has supported the efforts of the Communication Directorate over the years and please continue to do so in the future. I look forward to potentially serving the organization in other ways in the future and once again it has been my pleasure to be your Communication Director. Cheers!
By Gordon Strong, Mid-Atlantic Rep and BJCP President
Supporting IT needs of other directorates, maintaining ongoing operations, and continuing the web site migration were the main tasks in 2016.
The IT directorate took over the content migration as assistance from the other directorates stalled. We have rolled in a separate project to reorganize, restructure, and update the main BJCP content into the migration project. Why move out of date stuff? We are also pulling out common material to make it easier to update and maintain, which hopefully will reduce the conflicts between program documents.
There are three main phases to the migration. The first one was getting the new site established, the initial design done, and some sample content loaded. That phase is complete. The second phase is to migrate the content and launch the new site as our primary web site. We are nearing completion on that phase. The third phase is to optimize the site and to make it friendlier to mobile devices. That phase is awaiting completion of the content migration. In the content migration phase, we have a large amount of material loaded and in use. We have shifted to using the new web site as the primary source of content, with pointers from our legacy site referring to the new site. News articles, newsletter contents, board votes, departed members, policies, references, and staff listings are on the new site, along with much of the content from the education and exam directorates.
The 2015 style guidelines were converted to a database format and are being used to dynamically display in the menu structure of the web site. New content was added with greatly expanded FAQs (displayed in context-sensitive locations), and additional reference data on the program.
We still have more content to reorganize and move, so we continue to ask your patience as we complete these activities. We continue to use outside consulting support to solve technical problems, but the content migration itself is the BJCP’s responsibility. We continue development of a live exam calendar that can be more easily maintained, and additional custom functions.
Operations and maintenance
We spent considerable time this year working with our web hosting provider to resolve login and caching issues which impacted some of our users by serving them incorrect pages. We also worked on troubleshooting recurring email delivery issues. We continue to process an ever-increasing amount of program data from exams and competitions, and have maintained a quick turnaround time on publishing data to the web (generally within a few days of an exam closing).
We supported other directorates like the Education and Training Directorate by implementing a single sign on solution for their new training portal. The same BJCP ID and password used on the BJCP web site can be used to access this remote service. We also continue to work the technical background behind the vocabulary project. We supported the Communication Directorate by setting up an integrated newsletter on the new web site. We also allow additional staff members from Education, Communication, and Exam Directorates to make direct changes to web site content.
We could use some additional help with programming and development, as well as application migration. We use a MySQL and PHP environment in a hosted environment, but need people who can work with that within a WordPress framework.