by Gordon Strong, Mid-Atlantic Region 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.
Growth Continues. We passed another milestone this year with 11,193 judges at year end, a growth of about 10%. Active judges stands at 7,117, a growth of over 800 judges from last year or about 13%. We saw a 5% growth in competitions to 725, with about a third of them now taking place outside the US. Exams were given to over 1500 examinees in 186 exams.
BJCP staff has also expanded, with the number of assistant representatives growing from 15 to 19. We have also identified several country leads for our international members to have more local contacts. Some of our more active directorates have also added assistants.
International. Our international members now represent our primary growth area. We gave exams in several new countries: Taiwan, Costa Rica, Korea, Italy, Israel, Poland, Colombia, Paraguay, and New Zealand. The BJCP is now active in 48 countries (up from 44 in 2016). We continue to partner with local members to assist with translation of program materials and grading of exams.
We continue to evaluate the regional structure to better accommodate the international growth rate we are seeing. We expect that there will be some changes in the regional structure this year.
We are investigating a regionalized distribution of pins and program materials to reduce mailing issues and expenses and to better distribute the workload of mailings.
Major Events. The BJCP continues to have a strong presence at the AHA National Homebrew Conference, running several exams (one of each type), holding a judge reception, and having a member’s meeting. We tested consolidating BJCP events into fewer days, and expect to continue this trend this year. 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.
Style Guidelines. The 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines continue to be used as the standard throughout the program. We anticipate some additional provisional styles being added this year via our web site. Translations continue to take place.
Cider Exam. We are very close to launching the Cider Judge program. Michael Wilcox has completed drafting the study guide, and several versions of the online exam are being tested. The materials are ready. Once the exam is validated and fine-tuned, we expect to launch the program.
Exam Processing. The turnaround time on exams continue to improve, with most exams being closed within three months. Grader training is now required for all new graders, and streamlined feedback forms are being used. We continue to look at additional optimizations.
Documentation. The web site migration continues, with content being revised as part of the migration. The menu structure continues to be built out, and new beer study guide materials have been posted. More work remains to be done.
Education and Training. Beer and Mead Study programs have been developed and posted to the new web site, and the Cider guides are now available. The Education and Training Directorate is running the judge reception and training at the AHA NHC.
Communications. The Communications Directorate continues to publish regular newsletters, and oversee the BJCP Facebook site. A new merchandise and embroidery provider has been set up, with an expanded selection of BJCP gear.
Pat Baker Award. The board voted to authorize the Pat Baker Award for Significant, Sustained Contributions to the BJCP, which is meant to be the highest award the program can give for service. In the past, we have authorized ad hoc awards for Russ Wigglesworth and Susan Ruud, but decided to create a standing award that can be given as needed. Quite appropriately, the award was given to BJCP founder Pat Baker in October 2017. Board member Scott Bickham presented the award to Pat on behalf of the organization.
Exam Directors’ Report
by The Exam Directors
For the Exam Directorate, 2017 was another record year with a total of 1511 exams given including all types of tasting and written exams. International growth continues to be strong, with the first exams given in Israel, Italy, Poland, Columbia, Paraguay, Wales and New Zealand during 2017. Overall, non-USA exams are now approaching half of the exams given in a year. The geographical spread of exams over the history of the BJCP is shown in figure . The USA exam total peaked in 2015.
Over 6000 people have passed the Beer Entrance Exam since the program was implemented in April of 2012. The online entrance exam is available in Chinese, English, Spanish, and Portuguese and is being translated into Italian and French. The 2017 entrance exam statistics are:
· 1155 people passed the online Beer Entrance Exam.
· 85 people passed the online Mead Entrance Exam.
During 2017 we made some clarifications to the details expected on the essay questions used on the beer written proficiency examination and updated the Beer Exam Study Guide accordingly. These changes were first used for the February 17, 2018 quarterly exam.
As always, we are in need of exam graders. Any National or higher ranked judge is eligible to become an exam grader. We require all new graders entering the grading system to complete an online training course produced by the BJCP Education Directorate before they start grading real exams. If you wish to become a grader please send an email to email@example.com
While the grading of all the exams given in 2017 has not been completed, the statistics so far are below. For exam sets that have to be translated to English for grading there is an extra step, the translation so those are broken out separately. There is significant variation in the time to receive the exam scans before grading can begin. Some exam administrators electronically share the scans directly with the Exam Director which usually means grading starts with just a few days while for those mailed to the AHA for scanning grading usually doesn’t begin until several weeks after the exam date.
Cider Judge Program Committee Report
By Bruce Buerger, Committee Chair
We’re happy to report that work on the Cider Judge Program is coming to an end. This past year we successfully delivered the Release Candidate of the Cider Exam Study Guide, conducted the first Entrance Exam trials, and delivered the final revisions to the Cider Judge Entrance Exam question pool.
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.
As of this writing the Cider Exam Study Guide is currently going through revisions and planning is underway to conduct final Entrance Exam trials. The pool has grown to over 2,300 true / false, multiple choice, and multiple answer questions. Question topics include:
Cider Judge Program
Judging Procedures / Ethics
Cider Style Guideline
Apple / Pear Varietals
Characteristics of Ingredients
For those of you who are interested in becoming Cider Judges and are looking for initial study materials check out the Release Candidate of the Cider Exam Study Guide.
Competition Director’s Report
By David Houseman, Competition Director
The number of BJCP competitions and opportunities for BJCP judges to judge grew in 2017. The total number of competitions grew from 688 in 2016 to 724 in 2017, a 5% increase, with 32% of the AHA/BJCP Sanctioned Competitions held outside the USA. We registered 739 competitions in 2017 for 2017 and 2018, an increase of 27 registration over the prior year.
We had competitions geographically dispersed as follows:
AR (Argentina) – 8
AU (Australia) – 29
BR (Brazil) – 35
CA (Canada) – 32
CL (Chile) – 4
CN (China) – 10
*CO (Colombia) – 2
*CR (Costa Rica) – 1
CZ (Czech Republic) – 2
EC (Ecuador) – 1
ES (Spain) – 16
HK (Hong Kong) – 2
HR (Croatia) – 1
HU (Hungary) – 1
IE (Ireland) – 7
*IL (Israel) – 3
JP (Japan) – 1
KR (Korea) – 6
MX (Mexico) – 15
NZ (New Zealand) – 5
PA (Panama) – 2
PE (Peru) – 2
PL (Poland) – 4
PT (Portugal) – 2
PY (Paraguay) – 1
SG (Singapore) – 3
TW (Taiwan) — 5
UK (United Kingdom) – 10
US (United States) – 493
UY (Uruguay) – 4
ZA (South Africa) — 15
* New BJCP country of presence
What does the Competition Director do?
When registrations are made on-line and the fee is paid then these automatically come to the CD to approve and process into the database and the registration email with lists of judges emailed to the organizer. They are approved if there are not outstanding organizer reports from the organizer, his/her club or organization or the same competition previously held. If the fee has not been received then the CD contacts the organizer to get that fee paid so the competition registration can continue; it won’t until the fee is received. While we receive over 2 registrations per day on average, these are batched up for processing at least once a week, but sooner if there are 6 or more pending.
When competition reports are filed online (preferable) BJCP participants are notified automatically of their points. However if XML reports are emailed to us then the competition is manually cleared from going delinquent by the CD and BJCP participants will only find their points credited by looking at their online records. Encourage your competition organizer to file on-line rather than by generating and submitting an XML report!
If an organizer report is not received within the required 21 days then it is posted to the BJCP Delinquent Competition Report and the CD begins to contact the organizer to get the report filed. If unable to contact the organizer (all too frequent) then the CD contacts the club and sponsors involved and regional representatives to get judges their points.
The Competition Director receives numerous contacts, as many as 3 or 4 or more per week, concerning competitions. Timely responses are necessary. Some contacts are questions from those wanting to start new competitions. Some are from organizers about their competitions with date changes, entry fee changes or web site changes. Some are from entrants complaining about judging scores or not receiving judging forms or ribbons or prizes. Most queries are routine while a few are bizarre…we’ll have to discuss over beers.
Education and Training Director’s Report
By Bruce Buerger, Education and Training Director
Notable changes and accomplishments from 2017 include:
- Delivery of the Beer and Mead Judge Study Programs.
- Streamlining of the ETD Course Submission and Approval Process.
- Restructuring of the ETD Course Point Award Outline.
- Absorption of the National Homebrew Conference (NHC) Judge Reception.
- Absorption of the planning for the BJCP Officer and Staff meetings at NHC.
- Processed 102 sensory kit orders for members and upcoming exams.
- Evaluation of new sensory offerings for existing and potential members.
2017 brought the launch of the Beer and Mead Judge Study Programs. This was one of the key deliverables in the streamlining of the EDT Course Submission and Approval Process as it provides organizers with a starting point for how to structure a judge training program. It also provides local organizers with an example of the level of detail that the ETD expects in order to insure a quality experience for the participants. Major kudos go out to Amanda Burkemper and Julie Lawson for assembling that materials that went into these programs.
Amanda and Julie’s 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 Trappist Beers.
The second key deliverable for streaming the EDT Course Submission and Approval Process was around intake, review, and approval.
Centralizing the intake of the requests was critical as it had become inconsistent. Establishing the new Education Request Form was a big help and dedicating the Educational Liaison as be the point person for coaching and reviewing BJCP member submitted courses greatly simplifies the process. Kudos go out to Jon Greene for assisting the Directorate with the creation of the request form and to Kristen England for working with the local organizers to review their submissions and coach them through proper structuring.
The final key deliverable in effort to streamline the EDT Course Submission and Approval Process was the restructuring of the ETD Course Point Award Outline. This new outline brings together the award structures from the legacy BREWS and BICEPS structure and aligns it with other BJCP award structures.
Big kudos go out to Kristen England as well for his efforts with the BJCP Judge Reception at the NHC in Minneapolis last year. This was the first time that planning for the Judge Reception and the planning for the BJCP Officer and Staff meetings at NHC fell under the Education Directorate. Favorable comments were received around all the offerings and we look forward to what is in store at the NHC in Portland this coming summer.
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. Randy also assisted the Directorate this past year in acquiring some of the new hop sensory kits offered by Siebel. One kit was sent to each member of the Education Directorate for conducting a local study session. In the end it was determined that this particular kit was not something the Directorate wished to pursue.
2018 is already off to solid start. In addition to the learning competency offerings and NHC planning the Directorate is also looking to deliver new malt and hop sensory training, wood and barrel aged sensory training, and updates to the existing Grader Training program.
Communication Director’s Report
By Dennis Mitchell, Communication Director
The Communications Directorate (CD) manages communications with members through periodic email newsletters, front-page website posts, and social media activity. We also respond to general inquiries to the organization from prospective judges, the media, or those wishing to use our guidelines for various purposes. Other areas of responsibility include overseeing elections, member badge orders, and the member merchandise store.
This past year was a year of transition as our former Communications Director, Mike Dixon, retired after nearly ten years of service. Mike continues to be an asset to the directorate by being available to provide historical context and direction. This report provides an overview of the CDs accomplishments and work in 2017, as well as goals for future years.
Following Mike’s retirement in May 2017, Dennis Mitchell was confirmed by the BJCP Board as Communications Director. Mike ensured a smooth transition by providing clear documentation of the directorate’s many tasks and systems. The CD brought Toby Guidry on board as an Assistant Communications Director in 2016, and we added Andrew Luberto as a second Assistant Director in 2017. The increased staffing levels will help the CD increase consistency in communications and offerings.
The main method of communications between the BJCP and members is email. the CD oversees the emails containing periodic newsletters or major organizational news. Newsletters are emailed approximately quarterly to all active judges. The IT Directorate assisted the CD in 2016 with setting up a new newsletter distribution software integrated with the new website and this solution has worked well in gaining more access and availability for the newsletter. We sent four newsletters in 2017; email open rates ranged from 30-44 percent while click-through rates ranged from 7-23 percent.
January: Board Nominations, Cider Acidity, Style FAQs
April: Elections Open, Annual Report, Cider Squared
May: Events at NHC, Mead Tips & Cider Troubleshooting
December: Specialty IPA, New Merch and Pat Baker Award
Other Member Communication
In addition to newsletters, the CD triages emails sent to general organizational emails, such as info@BJCP.org, and addresses a variety of emails from members from account issues to program questions. . In the last six months of 2017, the CD received approximately 150 emails. About a third of those emails were related to account access issues (forgotten passwords or IDs). Other common email topics include questions about ordering a name badge or new pin, asking for permissions to use the BJCP guidelines, asking how to become a judge, or those wishing to provide feedback to the BJCP on various topics.
In addition to email, the CD oversees the BJCP social media platforms as well as member forum. The BJCP Facebook page continues to be a frequent means of communications between members and non-members asking BJCP-related questions. Frequent topics include where certain beers should be entered in competitions and discussions about the BJCP exam process. We’ve added approximately 500 new members to this group in the past year for a total group size of just over 4,650. In the last half of 2017, group members created over 200 posts, and our most active members viewed the group page over 1,500 times in six months!
The BJCP Twitter (@BJCP_Official) receives periodic questions, mentions, and has grown to over 2,300 followers. We try to respond with congratulatory tweets to members who post about passing exams, but we are not highly active on this platform at this time. The BJCP LinkedIn page and member forum receive infrequent traffic.
The CD took over the role of updating the front page of the new BJCP website from the IT Directorate given that this can now be done without needing complex HTML knowledge. In addition, we have provided ad hoc assistance to IT with the ongoing transition to the new website.
BJCP Logo Merchandise
In December 2017, we launched a new BJCP member store with an expanded selection of BJCP logo merchandise through an embroidery-on-demand store hosted by Queensboro Embroidery. This new shop offers a significantly wider range of products, including work shirts (Red Kap brand), polos, T-shirts, jackets, dress shirts, sweatshirts and bags/backpacks. Clothing is available in both men’s and women’s cuts and a variety of colors and brands. Queensboro also offers international shipping, so our members outside the US can now order BJCP logo merchandise. For more details on how to access this new store, members can visit the Merchandise page. In the first two months of operation, the new store has received 15 orders from BJCP members.
Member badges continue to grow in popularity, especially among our growing international judge population. Badge orders increased by 10 percent in 2017 to 733 and 35 percent of orders were shipped outside the United States. Due to increased shipping costs and a small increase in badge costs, the average price per badge in 2017 rose to $12.05 for a total annual expense of $8,830. This is up from $9.25 per badge and $6,157 during the prior year. However, while shipping prices increased, the CD worked with our vendor to now receive shipping tracking numbers to better manage shipments and answer member questions about badge shipping statuses.
International shipping is problematic not only due to its high cost, but also because some shipments take over three months to get delivered and other shipments simply never making it. Other problems include new judges who start at the recognized rank but quickly earn enough points to attain certified rank; often times, these judges have not yet received their recognized badge by the time they submit their certified badge order, resulting in unnecessary duplication of costs.
The BJCP continues to provide member badges as a free service to members, who can order a badge when they first become a judge, when they move, or when they move up in rank. We will continue to work with our vendor to identify opportunities for cost savings and improvement in the process.
In 2018, goals for the CD include:
- Transition primary responsibility of the newsletter, merchandise store, and annual report to the Assistant Directors.
- Identify areas for improving communication with members.
- Improve and diversify newsletter content.
- Explore the possibility of a member survey to explore member communication preferences.
- Create process documents for CD tasks to ensure continuity of service during future staffing transitions.
- Continue to assist the IT Directorate with the website transition, including exploring how the new website may modernize member account access.
- Being work on a formal communications plan for the organization.
IT Director’s Report
By Gordon Strong, Mid-Atlantic Region Rep and IT Director
We continue with the two major efforts of web site migration while continuing to operate and maintain our computing infrastructure.
The web site migration is continuing slowly. Bruce Buerger has taken on the responsibility for migrating legacy content, while coordinating the addition of new content as part of Education and Training and the development of the Cider Exam.
The focus is getting the static content moved over to the new site with pointers back to legacy functionality. The important point to note here is that this isn’t just a simple copy and paste exercise to move from one site to another. There is a large amount of material that needs to be updated, out of date or irrelevant content removed, content reorganized,and duplicate or redundant material removed. Each section is being evaluated and developed on a case by case basis.
After the cut over, the emphasis will shift to looking at integrating legacy system applications (competition registration, competition reporting, judge records, etc.) into the new system.
Several sections are complete, while other areas are assigned and people are working on the conversions.
James Golovich is working on the backend infrastructure for the new web site. Much of his work isn’t visible to web site users, but are critical for providing the functionality that the content migrators will use. He has added functionality that allows content providers to submit content that requires review, and for reviewers to review and publish the approved content; adding features that make the web site aware of the BJCP database, and be able to take advantage of information from it; building a development interface to allow new applications to be staged and deployed; and expanding functionality to allow documents to be organized and displayed in a more structured way.
Our contract support web developer has paused work while we continue the content migration, and will re-engage with us when that phase is complete. The major activity for her work is to improve support for interacting with the web site on mobile devices.
New content development has been turned over to the Communications Directorate to handle (news items, newsletters, etc.).
The remainder of the directorate work is to keep our current systems functioning, including regular database updates, email of notifications, troubleshooting reporting problems, working with our hosting provider, backing up our systems, and dealing with the increasing load of program data. We continue to support development and integration requests from other directorates.
We continue to need additional help with application programming within our PHP, MySQL, WordPress environment, and could also use volunteers to assist with the content migration tasks.
By Al Boyce, BJCP Finance Director
Overall, budgeted $108,378.45 – actual income $106,760 – 98%
A. BJCP EXAM FEES – We took in $8139 more than we expected – 126%
B. BJCP CONTEST CERT FEES – We took in $1152 more than we expected – 105%.
C. BJCP MERCH RECEIPTS – Negligible difference from budget
D. INTEREST (PAYPAL) – We expected none, and we received none.
E. MISC INCOME – Negligible difference from budget.
F. RETURNED CHECKS – None
G. SAVINGS ACCOUNT – $174 more interest than we expected – 138%
H. WRS REIMBURSEMENT – Expected $60, that’s what we got
I. SIEBEL FLAVOR KITS – We took in $4200 less than we expected – 64%.
J. ONLINE EXAMS – We took in $4810 less than we expected – 81%.
K. GRADER INCENTIVE PROGRAM (AHA) – We received $425 less than we expected – 80%.
L. BJCP-AHA RECEPTION – We received $1260 less than we expected – 65%
Overall, budgeted $108,378.45 – actually spent $76,363.35
1. AHA SCP FEES – defunct category
2. BJCP GRANTS – Budgeted $1000 – spent zero
3. CONTINUING ED PROGRAM – Spent $4782 less than budgeted – 1%
4. LEGAL FEES – Budgeted and spent zero
5. MERCHANDISE – Spent $3232.10 more than budgeted – $149%
6. MISC – Spent $6495 less than budgeted – 35%
7. OFFICE SUPPLIES – Spent $1040 less than budgeted – 20%
8. PAYPAL FEES – Spent $149 more than budgeted – 105%
9. PO BOX RENTAL/FORWARDING – Spent $286 less than budgeted – 56%
10. POSTAGE – Spent $304.86 more than budgeted – 125%
11. PRINTING – Budgeted and spent zero
12. RECOGNITION – Spent $1496 less than budgeted – 25%
13. EXAM PROGRAM – Spent $4214 less than budgeted – 29%
14. SHIPPING: MERCHANDISE – Budgeted and spent zero
15. SURETY BOND – Budgeted $800 – spent zero.
16. TELEPHONE – Budgeted and spent zero
17. WEBSITE – Spent $6412 less than budgeted – 46%
18. SAVINGS ACCOUNT – Budgeted and spent zero
19. SIEBEL FLAVOR KITS – Spent $20,247 less than budgeted – 37%
20. ONLINE EXAM FEES – Spent $15 more than budgeted – 100.2%
21. PROCTOR TRAVEL EXPENSES – Spent $10,273 more than budgeted – 442%
22. REP TRAVEL EXPENSES – Spent $1510 less than budgeted – 56%
23. NHC STAFF TRAVEL – Spent $221 more than budgeted – 108%
24. AHA-BJCP RECEPTION – Spent $3777 more than budgeted – 225%
25. ADMIN/GRADER REIMBURSEMENT – Spent $434 more than budgeted – 107%
26. EXAM TRANSLATION – Spent $2140 less than budgeted – 28%