Originally Posted by jacko623
I run a brewclub in NJ. We have lofty ambitions and love putting together big events that are fun for everyone from big time brewers to people who only drink Miller Lite.
One idea that we've been throwing around lately is to create a homebrew competition. You know the deal - Put some ads out, attract some brewers and then find some judges. Depending on the size, possibly open the doors to the locals and have some fun.
Are there any resources on the internet that might be able to present an outline or two, or possibly discuss an organizer's approach, to getting something like this up and off the ground?
That is the BJCP Organizer's Handbook, lots of basics. I am co-running a comp this year but it is 28 years old so not a new one. I will say:
1. It is more work than you think, make sure you have several serious people on your committee.
2. Getting good prizes is a numbers game. If you want 30 donations contact 100 places.
3. If you give medals and feed your judges, expect to spend a few thousand up front. You should make it back, more or less, on entry fees but you need the money in advance. If your club doesn't have it, that's tough. Maybe start out with ribbons and cheap food.
4. Competitions are about scoresheets so a good competition is one with good judges. If you want to get and keep out of town judges, be a judge friendly competition (free meals, get good commercial beer donations to serve after judging, maybe raffle off some prizes to judges, have a speaker and banquet Saturday evening, work out a discount at a hotel within walking distance).
5. It is hard to find a good cheap location. Hotels are great, IMO, but want money and you probably can't swing that in the first year unless your club has a ton of money. Breweries are good. Private rooms in brewpubs or beer bars are good if the law allows. We do ours at a winery. You need room for judging (duh) and cold storage which is why breweries and restaurants are great. If the site doesn't have cold storage, try to find a nearby liquor store or brewpub that will give you walk-in space and you can shuttle entries over. Remember that a medium size 300 entry competition means 600-900 bottles.
6. Use one of the competition organizing software solutions available. Al Boyce's is popular in this part of the country but there are several available.
7. For a medium size comp you should shoot for 6 people on the committee willing do make a significant effort over 3 months and will need another 6 or so willing to do a ton of work on the days of the competition (plus judges and stewards).
Good luck. It is a ton of work but worth it IMO. Tons of brewers are looking to enter comps so there is room for a new one. Existing comps are regularly getting 100+ increases in entries year over year without doing anything different.