Rules & Regulations

Application for Sanctioning

The competition registration fee is US$30. Authenticated, active BJCP members are eligible for a US$5 discount from this price.

Competitions should be registered at least 90 days before the event is held. This allows ample time for the registration to be processed, and for you to receive the registration materials in time to be useful. If you don’t register at least 90 days in advance, you may not have your event published in Zymurgy, and you may encounter delays when attempting to enter your organizer’s report.

Online registration is required. Online payment of the registration fee is required. Payments will not be accepted via any other means.

Go to our Competition Registration, enter your information, then make payment electronically through our secure PayPal system (yes, you can safely use a credit card) and you’re done.

Approval and Competition Reports

Upon receipt of application and fee, you will receive (via email) the necessary material within two weeks. After the competition (hopefully, very soon after it), you can enter the experience points through our Organizer Online Reporting System. NOTE: If the organizer fails to file the competition reports in a timely fashion, he or she may be penalized the experience points that would have been earned had the report been filed on time.

Sanctioned Competition Rules

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctions competitions, but does not operate them. Competitions are run by independent organizations that may or may not involve BJCP members. Any competition sanctioned by the BJCP must agree to follow these few general rules:

  1. Organizers have the right to run their competitions as they see fit, consistent with these rules and any applicable local laws. Organizers have wide latitude to create a unique competition experience. The Sanctioned Competition Handbook provides good guidance and advice, but is not binding. Just keep in mind that experienced judges anticipate a certain rhythm to competitions, so be sure to advise judges when the competition has unusual or out-of-the-ordinary elements.
  2. Organizers have the right to select the judges and staff needed to run their competition. No judge has a right to be seated at any competition, session, or panel. Judges may not “pull rank” to get a judging slot.
  3. Organizers have the right to remove or replace disruptive or non-performing judges or staff at their discretion, and to optionally ban them for cause from future competitions they run.
  4. Organizers have the right to exclude scoresheets from any judge who are clearly not performing their duties.
  5. Competition-specific rules must be published and not be changed from the time registration is open until the competition concludes. Unpublished rules cannot be enforced. If any entries are not eligible for any award, these criteria must be explained in advance.
  6. Judging must be fair to all entrants. Competition rules must be applied and enforced uniformly. Competitions must be run in a spirit of fairness, even as unique characteristics are incorporated.
  7. Blind tasting must be used. Judges must not be given the identity of the brewer or entrant. Competition staff are allowed to judge provided that they do not know the association between entries and entrants. Judges may enter competitions in which they judge provided they do not judge any competition category in which they have entries.
  8. Entries must be judged to published styles. The BJCP Style Guidelines are preferred, but any other published guidelines may be used provided that entrants and judges are using the same guidelines. If styles require additional information, organizers must provide this information to the judges.
  9. Judge panels must have a minimum of two judges and a maximum of four judges, including any non-BJCP or provisional judges. Excess judges should be encouraged to steward or observe the judging, provided they are not a distraction and that adequate sample volume exists for judging.
  10. Judges must always pick the best beer from those eligible. Judges, not organizers or staff, determine scores, ranking, and winners. Winners must not be selected on score alone when scores were determined by multiple panels of judges.
  11. Feedback must be given to the brewer or entrant. BJCP Judging Forms are recommended, but are not mandatory. Scoresheets must be returned promptly to entrants.
  12. An organizer’s report must be filed with the BJCP within 21 days, preferably using the BJCP Organizer Reporting System. The BJCP Experience Point Award Schedule must be followed.
  13. The BJCP Privacy Policy must be followed. Judge data may only be used to run the competition, and not be used for other purposes or shared with third-parties.
  14. The BJCP Disability Policy must be followed.

Organizers not abiding by these rules may be penalized. Organizer points may be reduced or withheld. Subsequent competition registrations may be denied. Discipline of individual BJCP members involved in violating rules may be addressed in accordance with BJCP policies and guidelines.

Rule infractions should be brought to the Organizer’s attention immediately. Escalation to the BJCP Competition Director or BJCP Regional Representative can be undertaken, but attempts to resolve problems must be made locally first. The BJCP will work with those who escalate issues to the BJCP Competition Director or other officers or staff towards a satisfactory explanation or resolution, but Organizers are encouraged to properly manage their competitions and work with those with report issues.

Competition Report Reference

Experience Points
The mechanism used by the BJCP to indicate the practical participation of members in BJCP events. There are two groups of experience points: judging experience points and non-judging experience points. Each of these groups consists of different categories of points that are accrued according to the rules of the various types of events. Experience Points are recorded in the BJCP database as judging and non-judging experience points only, not the more detailed schedules for each event.
Program Participants
Individuals who perform an active role in a sanctioned competition. Important categories of program participants are Organizers, Judges, Best-of-Show Judges, Stewards and Staff. Each category of participants has different rules that govern the awarding of experience points.
Organizers are the only program participants to receive Organizer Points, which are non-judging experience points that are allocated based on the total number of competition entries as shown in Table 1. The Organizer may ONLY receive Organizer Points, not Judge Points, Best-of-Show Judge Points, Staff Points, Steward Points, or any other combination of points, regardless of other roles performed. Any other program participant is eligible to receive any combination of Judge, Best-of-Show Judge, Steward, or Staff Points in a single competition, except as noted. However, the total points (judging plus non-judging experience points) awarded to any program participant may not exceed (but may equal) the Organizer Points designated for the Organizer of the competition.
Judges earn points at a rate of 0.5 Judge Points per session, but the following limitations apply:

  • Judges earn a minimum of 1.0 Judge Point per competition.
  • Judges earn a maximum of 1.5 Judge Points per day.

BOS Judge Points are a separate category of points, and are not subject to these limitations. The total number of experience points (including Judge Points) a judge may earn in a competition is limited by the Organizer Points, and is shown in Table 1. Judge Points are a type of judging experience points.

Best-of-Show (BOS) Judges
BOS Judges are eligible to receive 0.5 Best-of-Show (BOS) Judge Points if they judge in any BOS panel in a competition. BOS Judge Points are a type of judging experience points separate from Judge Points. The BOS Judge Points are a bonus (i.e., an additional or extra reward) in addition to any other judging and non-judging experience points earned in the competition, and may only be awarded to a single judge once per competition. BOS Judge Points may only be awarded if a competition has at least 30 entries in at least five beer and/or three mead/cider categories.

The number of judges eligible to receive the BOS Judge Point bonus is correlated to the number of entries in each BOS panel as follows:

  • 5-14 entries, including beer = 3 BOS Judges
  • 3-14 meads and/or ciders (only) = 3 BOS Judges
  • 15 or more entries of any type or combination = 5 BOS Judges

This limitation applies to each individual BOS panel. Competitions may seat separate homebrew, commercial and mead and/or cider BOS panels, if desired.

A best-of-show judge receives the BOS Judge Point bonus if a judge judges in at least one other session in the competition. If a judge only judges in a BOS panel, that judge earns 1.0 BOS Judge Points and no Judge Points.

Stewards receive 0.5 Steward Points (non-judging experience points) per day with a maximum of 1.0 Steward Points per competition. Participants may not earn both Judge and Steward Points in a single competition. Steward points are awarded separately from Staff Points and do not come from the Staff Point pool shown in the following table. A program participant may earn both Steward and Staff Points.
Staff Points
Non-judging experience points awarded by the Organizer to one or more program participants in minimum increments of 0.5 points. The sum of all Staff Points awarded to all program participants may not exceed the Table 1 Staff Point maximum.

Note: In order to maintain competition integrity, staff members with access to entry data should refrain from judging as they may be able to associate entry numbers or entry descriptions with an entrant’s identity.

# of Entries Organizer Staff Judge
1 – 49 2.0 1 1.5
50 – 99 2.5 2 2.0
100 – 149 3.0 3 2.5
150 – 199 3.5 4 3.0
200 – 299 4.0 5 3.5
300 – 399 4.5 6 4.0
400 – 499 5.0 7 4.5
500 – 599 6.0 Max 8 5.5 Max
    +1 staff point for each
additional 100 entries

Note: The Staff point numbers represent the total points which can be awarded to all staff members collectively. No single person can receive more total points than the Organizer. For each 100 entries over 500 one additional staff point may be awarded. Organizer points are capped at 6, regardless of competition size.