Ethical Standards for BJCP Members

The BJCP Bylaws [section 2.1(3)] allow for the creation of standards of conduct for BJCP members. This policy is one of those standards, and is a requirement for continuing membership in the BJCP.

BJCP members are required to follow ethics guidelines for conduct to ensure the integrity of the organization and to maintain our professional reputation. 


  • All members have the right of equal access to BJCP services.
  • Members must avoid conflicts of interest and must minimize the appearances of conflicts of interest.
  • Members must be impartial when judging, and also when acting in an official capacity within the program.
  • Members may not directly profit from judging. 
  • Members may not directly profit from administering or proctoring exams, or organizing competitions. 
  • Members may not use any BJCP status or position to deny or restrict direct access to BJCP services, or to apply additional user fees to directly access BJCP services.
  • Members who are acting as an agent or representative of the BJCP may not assert ownership of any aspect of the organization.
  • Members must not use proxies, associates, or intermediaries to circumvent the intent of these rules.
  • BJCP membership does not imply endorsement of any product or service developed by individual members.

Directly profit means receiving money in exchange for services performed in excess of direct costs. Reimbursement or subsidy of travel-related expenses, if offered, is not considered directly profiting. Members may not demand these expenses be reimbursed, however. Accepting payments that exceed actual expenses is unethical.

Members working within the broader craft beer industry or related industries subject to BJCP certification are common. Members who are writers, authors, teachers, or instructors are also common. These jobs are not disqualifying for those in BJCP events or positions, but extra care needs to be taken to avoid conflicts of interest.

Those who are in a conflicted position such as a teacher of an examination preparation class also being the administrator of an exam must take extra care to avoid discriminating against those potential examinees not taking the class, or in creating situations that favor those who do take class. Classes are allowed to fill seats, but extra seats must be advertised as open to any qualified applicant. Classes taught by an exam administrator should also state that the training is not official BJCP training, that it is being given by a volunteer, that attending doesn’t guarantee an exam seat, and that students can always contact the BJCP directly.

Areas, regions, and groups are encouraged to interact, learn, coordinate, and develop skills. Fees may be charged for educational events, especially to cover unreimbursed costs. 

Some BJCP services are capacity-limited, such as exam scheduling constrained by the available grader resources. When resources are limited, opportunities for exploitation exist. Avoid situations where exam dates, locations, or examinee registrations are manipulated.

The BJCP supplies to the public an enormous amount of intellectual property representing the work of many unpaid volunteers and staff; it is not ethical for members to profit from this work that was donated to the organization.

These are some examples that illustrate the principles; they are not meant to be a complete list, but do describe some problems that have occurred in the past:

  • Judges must not judge entries they have created, or categories in which they have entered. They may judge in competitions they have entered.
  • Judges associated with breweries must not judge entries from breweries they represent. This includes distributors, resellers, vendors, or agents as well as direct employees.
  • Judges may not judge when they have knowledge of the identity of entries.
  • A member may not perform multiple roles during an exam; such as, administrator and proctor, administrator and examinee, proctor and grader.
  • Exam administrators may not require examinees to take a class in order to take the exam.
  • Exam administrators who teach classes may not guarantee exam seats to students, and may not exclude non-students from exams.
  • Exam administrators may not reserve seats for unknown people. When an exam is registered, any qualified person may request a seat.
  • Available exam seats are not a resource to sell. The next qualified applicant should be granted the seat.
  • Exam administrators do not ‘own’ the exams; they are acting as agents of the BJCP and must follow exam directorate procedures, rules, and directions.
  • Potential members have a right to access exams without pre-conditions other than those set by the BJCP; administrators may not add additional conditions to take the exam. Administrators may set deadlines for qualifications.
  • Exam administrators may not charge an extra fee to those taking the exam. Charging a non-refundable fee to hold an exam seat is allowed.
  • No one may assist an examinee while they are taking any examination, including the online qualifier, except as approved under the Disability Policy.
  • No one may take any type of exam on behalf of an examinee.
  • Exam administrators or those with knowledge of exams or samples may not share any information about the questions or samples (styles, faults) with examinees.
  • Exam administrators should not manipulate selection of samples or venue in order to retain more of the administrative overhead fee; this is a form of profiting at the expense of quality.
  • No one may charge a local membership fee to join the BJCP.
  • No one may require membership in another organization in order to join the BJCP.
  • No one may prevent access to BJCP services by requiring interactions with intermediaries rather than BJCP staff directly.
  • Competition organizers may or may not be BJCP members, but still must follow all applicable BJCP rules when running a BJCP-sanctioned competition.
  • Competition organizers may not grant additional point awards not earned or authorized under the Experience Point Award Schedule.
  • Competition organizers may not repeatedly spam BJCP members or use their personal information for non-BJCP purposes, including advertising or soliciting for commercial products.
  • The BJCP does not endorse training classes or programs. It is entirely possible to self-study for the BJCP exam. Training classes may help but are not required.
  • When the number of potential exam administrators is limited in an area, do not use this scarcity to personally profit using such methods as allowing extra payments to skip places in line.
  • No BJCP policy may be used as justification for breaking applicable local laws, ordinances, rules, or other lawful governmental directives.

If exceptions to these policies are granted due to exceptional circumstances, they must have two higher levels of independent review and provide a justification other than convenience. Exceptions are expected to be rare, not routine. For example, an exam administrator requesting a deviation, waiver, or exception to policy or rule must make that request to the Exam Director and receive concurrence from the Managing Exam Director.                                                                              

Consequences for violating the policy depend on the nature of the infraction. If a position of trust was violated, the person may be temporarily or permanently banned from performing that role again. For extreme cases, penalties can range up to termination of membership. If an event (such as an exam or a competition) is tainted by unethical actions, corrective action up to discarding of the event results is authorized. Discretion for penalties is reserved to the responsible director with concurrence from the BJCP Officers.

Adopted April 2021