Note: post has been updated below.
Wow, what a debacle:
On Tuesday, the Brewers Association opened brewery registration for The Great American Beer Festival. Each year, the registration list fills up within days. Last year, it only took two days for 580 breweries to sign up. This year, however, it only took less than two hours for 600 breweries.
Complicating this year’s registration were server issues, something that has become quite common with limited events.
They may have to move from an "open" model of competition to an "invitational." The crapshoot model accomplishes no one's benefit.
Update. In comments, Vasili Gletsos, brewmaster at Laurelwood, offers a wonderful solution to all this:
Maybe move to a model similar to what they do for their National Homebrew competitons? Have a series of Regional Competitions that advance to nationals.Yup, that's the answer. Regional judging could be accompanied by small regional events as well, which would certainly be a boon all around. Brewers Association?