Post by Scott T. Jensen
This would merely be something that my type of a beer
contest would naturally take into consideration and work
to insure a level playing field. The contest evaluating the
beer distributors and retail stores. Secretly purchasing
bottles from what's considered the best distributors and
retail stores. Clearly publicly stating what standards
these distributors and stores would have to have for the
contest to purchase beer from them. On the bright side,
this might improve beer distribution and retail
presentation if the contest were to give it's stamp of
approval and allow the stores to advertise this. "This
retail store and its distributors are approved by the
International Honest Beer Contest. Beer bought from
this store is beer considered to be properly handled by
its beer distributors and the store itself. Because of this,
beer sold in this store might be secretly purchased and
judged for IHBC." For beer connoisseurs, this could
be the thing that would make them buy their beer from
one local store rather than another.
I agree with you 100%...
That's nice to know.
...--but this does put the breweries at a disadvantage if
the distributors and retailers don't care squat about the
proper handling of beer.
It might however spur them to seek out better distributors and retailers.
It might also spur these distributors and retailers to improve to keep these
microbreweries as clients and providers.
Most of these individuals approach it from the perspective
of the megaswill--which is pasturized and/or treated with
products to increase shelf life, as well as having the
advantage of moving off the shelf fast. Most retailers don't
understand the fragility of most microbrewed beer, and
couldn't care a less about it either. I wish they all knew
and cared, but they don't. I'm not sure if having a contest
like you advocate would change their minds, as long as
most of their business is the megabrews.
A few points:
1) The smaller the business, the more important each customer is to them.
2) For the non-chain, non-supermarket liquor stores, the IHBC seal of
approval would likely give them an edge over these mega-stores that they'll
very likely view as a good way to be competitive with them. If the IHBC
were to come about, I could easily see small IHBC-approved liquor stores
heavily advertising this fact.
3) The mega-stores intensely monitor their sales. Sales fluctuations of
even the smallest amounts are closely scrutinized as they should be. You
want to catch trends at the start and not after it's too late. And this
means both good and bad trends. For the good trends, you want to maximize
the opportunity as much as you can.
Given the above...
If small liquor stores promoted their IHBC stamp of approval and a small
fraction of beer consumers (the beer connoisseurs) were to change their
purchasing habits because of this, the small liquor stores would see an
important improvement in revenue and the mega-stores would notice an
unwanted downward movement in sales. The mega-stores might then seek IHBC
approval to hopefully regain those lost consumers as well as stop any
further loss of them. The end result could be vastly improvement handling
of all beers by distributors and small and mega stores.
Post by Scott T. Jensen
(The GABF special) clearly showed that some of the
brewmasters were making special batches (taking at
least extra special care when they're brewed) for the
Like anyone who is going to have their work scrutinized
more carefully on a certain day than on an any other
average day, they are taking extra special care to do the
job as perfect as possible for the event. This doesn't
mean that the recipe is different (i.e. special ingredients,
etc.), but extra care is taken to make sure the batch has
as little mistakes or flaws as possible. Compare it to an
average day on any job, versus that same day with the
boss looking over your shoulder all day. I bet the day
with the boss looking over your shoulder is different
than the other days (not much, but different).
This is why many businesses wisely hire mystery shopper services. The
mystery shopper is someone unknown by the employees and thus catches them as
they normally operate. The IHBC would need to use mystery shoppers. It
would use mystery shoppers to go into the stores and purchase the beers for
the contest. They would be "mystery" shoppers simply in the aspect that the
store employees wouldn't know they're from IHBC. In fact, if I were to run
this contest, I would definitely explore hiring mystery shopper services
around the world to purchase the beers for the contests and then properly
and promptly ship the beers to the judging location.
Being a homebrew judge, I would venture that the difference
between the "special batches" and the "standard batches"
would be little to none, with the little differences being minor
flaws that would escape the palate of the average consumer.
I can definitely see this for home-brewed beers. However, those are not the
beers I'd want my beer contest to evaluate.
Post by Scott T. Jensen
Unfortunately, as no one has brought up a contest structured
as what I'm seeking, I guess it just doesn't exist. Too bad.
If I had money to throw around, I'd start it up but I don't.
If anyone ever managed to get a contest like that off the ground,
I would be excited to see the results, and put the results to good
use in buying my beers.
That's good to hear. And the contest would be relatively simple to set up.
It just needs a backer for at least the initial years. Eventually, the
contest could decide to support itself through charging stores for the
privilege of being able to advertise that their store(s) are IHBC approved.
No entry fee to brewers. In fact, by not depending on financial support
from the brewers, the beer judged would be judged regardless if the brewer
wanted their beer judged or not. The contest judging all beers and not just
those willing and able to fork over the money to be judged. Personally, I
think this independence from the brewers would further improve the
creditability of the contest results.
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