Can Your Homebrew Make The Cut?
The Beverage Warehouse and 14th Star Brewing Co. have created a homebrew competition unlike any other!
For the fourth year, Vermont homebrews will compete for a chance to have their beer produced and distributed commercially.
Unlike traditional homebrew competitions, our judges are made up of professional beer judges as well as hand-selected members of the beer industry, local media, and fans of craft beer. These are the people that brew, buy, drink, talk, and live for craft beer. Brews are judged not only on style but with a focus on commercial appeal and wow factor.
We are accepting 200 entries to be judged this year. Two finalists will be selected by the judges to brew a limited 120gal batch of their beer at 14th Star Brewing, which will then be sold in tasting pairs at participating Vermont craft beer meccas along with a ballot for public voting.
The winner of the 2018 Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge will be presented with a check for $1,000 from The Beverage Warehouse and be invited to brew a production sized batch of their winning beer at 14th Star Brewing Company (while maintaining rights to their recipe). Their beer will be launched to the public the week of the Vermont Brewers Festival and will be available on tap at select bars and restaurants, as well as in cans at local craft beer stores statewide.
We’re looking for the next great Vermont beer — does your homebrew have what it takes to Make the Cut?!
The Faces Behind Make The Cut
The Faces Behind Make The Cut
Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge is the brainchild of The Beverage Warehouse, 14th Star Brewing Company, and Farrell Distributing. Their forces combined have the means to produce, distribute, and sell the best craft beer in Vermont.
These are your craft beer allies.
Beverage Warehouse - Owner & Libation Hooligan
Jen has been involved in the Vermont beer scene since the age of 15 when she started working at the Beverage Warehouse. She was inspired to create "Make The Cut " after talking to countless Beverage Warehouse patrons over the years, who wondered if their beer had want it takes to make it commercially in Vermont.
Farrell Distributing - Director of Marketing
Ryan loves the Vermont brew scene, and is proud to have been a part of it for over 15 years. As Director of Marketing at Farrell Ryan is proud to work every day with statewide retailers, world class suppliers, media friends, and community partners.
14th Star Brewing Co. - Founder
Steve founded 14th Star Brewing Co. upon returning from Afghanistan in 2011. Steve is a former President of the Vermont Brewers Association and is a self-proclaimed astronaut. Steve knows what it takes to turn a homebrewing dream into a successful craft brewery.
Beverage Warehouse - Manager & Craft Beer Kraken
With over a decade of experience in the wine, beer, and liquor industry, Jason (Wine & Beer Manager, Beverage Warehouse) has managed multiple homebrew competitions in throughout the northeast.
Graphic & Web Designer
A homebrewer and dreamer, David has been involved in the visual and creative side of the craft beer industry for over 8 years and is the graphic designer behind the packaging and promotional material for 14th Star Brewing Co. as well as the Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge.
14th Star Brewing Co. - CEO
Andrea came to 14th Star in 2014, just prior to the initial MTC Competition. As the CEO she's actively involved in the competition, the winning beer's debut and its distribution throughout Vermont.
Williston's Aaron Ritchie has immersed himself within the Vermont homebrewing scene. A member of various homebrew groups, Cicerone® Certified Beer Server, and BJCP judge in-training — Aaron approaches brewing like a rockstar, always working to write the next big hit.
Aaron's Catharina-style sour beer "Tropical Graffiti" is visually stunning and exotic. Tart, refreshing, and tastefully fruited, this beer is inspired by nights spent in the tropics, 80's rock stars who did splits in the air, macho wrestlers who had long hair, and Hawaiian P.I.’s who were most debonair.
Bryan Landerman & Greg Goyette
Ekuanot Specialty IPA
Bryan and Greg met 2012 and shortly after began brewing together. The South Burlington based duo quickly discovered that splitting a 5-gallon batch from a long all grain brew day wasn’t going to cut it. In 2014 they purchased a one barrel system and now spend the majority of their brew days in search of the perfect IPA.
Bryan and Greg's New England IPA “Our Saving Grace” is a hazy, straw colored creation that delivers a mouthful of tropical, juicy hops and a soft, lasting citrus flavor leaving you wanting more.
Congratulations to the Round One Finalists!
- Andrew Hankerson
- Justin Rito
- Erin Ennis
- Alex Morgan
- James Blum
- James Casey
- Jake Claro
- Ryan Dudley
- Craig Evans
- Jeff Giknis
- Andrew Grogan
- Ken Hughes
- Aaron Kennison
- Chris Kesler (x2)
- Bryan Landerman & Greg Goyette(x2)
- Spencer Lanning
- Ryan Leamy
- Aaron Ritchie
- Blake Simpfenderfer
- Joe Swan
- Daniel Welch
Our 2017 Winner!
Ted Ortiz Y Pino!
Ted’s 2017 winning Fruit Sour, Squeeze The Day, is a perfect introduction to sour beer. This medium body kettle-soured beer was brewed with the peel of four citrus fruits and proved to be a refreshingly tart crowd-pleaser.
Our 2016 Winner!
Roland's 2016 winning Altbier, Verkaufen, is a complex brew with balanced sweetness upfront, pleasing mid-palate bitterness, and a crisp finish. This hickory colored, German Alt inspired beer is a blending of new and old brewing practices.
Check out all the finalists from the 2016 Make The Cut competition
Our 2015 Winner!
Brett’s 2015 winning Schwarzbier, Salute Your Schwarz, proves that the right combination of malts can be just as interesting as the right combination of hops. This easy drinking dark lager is the perfect introduction to dark beers.
Check out all the finalists from the 2015 Make The Cut competition
Registration for the 2018 Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge is now closed. Good Luck to all our registered Homebrewers!
"By competing in MTC passionate homebrewers can let their creativity flow without the significant financial risk of starting a brewery."
"This competition allows the true spirit of craft beer to shine; creativity and and the love of really good beer are what this industry is founded on."
"To see where this local Vermont homebrewing competition has gone the last few years is amazing, and the entries have been beyond impressive."
"This is a chance for 14th Star to give back too the home brewing community and give someone a chance to prove that their beer belongs in the marketplace."
"You just can’t put a monetary figure for this kind of an opportunity, we are going to allow you to test your dream of making this a professional reality."
"This is a great way for us to help support the amazing beer culture we have."
"What sets this apart from some of the larger, similar competitions is that we are not taking the recipe, it will be very clear that this is the competition champion’s beer."
Your homebrew entries will be judged by a panel of hand-selected members of the beer industry, professional beer judges, local media personalities, and fans of craft beer.
Check out our growing list of 2018 MTC judges below!
Sous Chef at the Worthy Burger and super amateur homebrewer, Eric once boasted 400 unique beers on Untappd in a calendar year!
Mark is a renaissance man, an expert brewer, a legendary canner, and a certified genius.
AJ is a Bartender at the Worthy Kitchen, homebrewer and all around beer nerd.
James is a graduate student at UVM who bartended for four years in St. Louis.
Adrian enjoys sharing his love of local and global beer with others through his role as bar manager at Bluebird Barbecue. General enthusiast with a fondness for the sour.
John is Director of Horticulture at Vermont Hemp Company. He is a cannabis farmer, microbe enthusiast, and lover of delicious beer.
Denise is the GM of Doc Ponds in Stowe. Her boss says her newly acquired love of sour beers was bound to emerge based on her wine background.
Kirstyn began her journey in the restaurant industry 15 years ago. She is currently the Brewery Manager at Prohibiton Pig. Her love of craft beers began at her first brewery job in the Adirondacks and she has been on the hunt for great local beers ever since.
Mike Babcock, Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery, Bar Manager, Beer Buyer - Avid Beer Drinker, Bills Fan and Cat Enthusiast.
Jeff hails from Wisconsin. They drink a lot of beer there.
Jim has been a Franklin County prosecutor for 30 years. An avid cook and part-time homebrewer, Jim's beer career highlights include finishing the Boilermaker over 22 times, several pictures on the wall of McKee’s pub, 2002 Munich Octoberfest and judging the initial Make The Cut competition.
A past Make The Cup competitor, Evan decided to start his brewery, Green Empire Brewing, after placing in the top 50 in 2016. He is an entrepreneur and connoisseur of fine beer and all things green. "If you had fun, you won."
Gabriel is the owner of Hatchet in Richmond, VT. He decided to explore the world of excellent beer after growing up drinking 40’s of Old English and thinking to himself that there must be something better than this.
A former House of Blues bartender and Cheers server, Billy is the Member Engagement Manager at the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and occasional home brewer.
Chris is a former bartender at the Brewski, a former regular at the Alchemist Pub & Brewery, and now just a craft beer drinker from Waterville.
Anna is the General Manager of the Skinny Pancake on UVM campus (their only location that doesn't serve beer!). However, as a VT native, she's a craft beer enthusiast and a firm believer that you're not drinking alone if you're with your dog.
Jason had his first craft brew at Four Peaks Brewing in AZ over 10 years ago and hasn't looked back. Having enjoyed beer from both the east and west coast scene, he is always open to opportunities to expand his craft brew palate!
Vinny, Owner of the Blue Stone, is constantly in awe of the ever changing beer movement, and is just happy to be here.
Levi is the owner of North Hero Hops and Agriculture and a Cellarman at 14th Star Brewery.
Ed works for Von Trapp Brewing and is a Backyard hop farmer.
Joel began his "Beer Journey" in 1993 when he brewed his first Beer with his father while attending NECI. Blending his love for beer and food, Joel has conducted beer & food pairing dinners and occasionally brews with local brewers.
Ryan is a Cellarman at 14th Star Brewery.
Casey is a brewer at The Alchemist in Waterbury. She is also a BJCP recognized judge, American Brewers Guild graduate, and occasional homebrewer.
Prescott is a brewer at 14th Star Brewing Company.
Scott came to Vermont for college from the Boston area. During his time in school, he developed a love of Vermont craft beer. Ever since Scott has explored Vermont for the best beer and trying local craft beer is a must wherever he travels.
Jessica is a Cicerone® Certified Server at Honey Road Restaurant in Burlington.
Travis is the front of house manager for Stone Corral Brewery and Taproom and reluctant beer snob.
Doug loves exploring Vermont beer, making home brews, and working at 14th Star Brewing Co.
Randy is Craft Beer Brand Manager at Farrell Distributing and has 30 years of experience in the industry... one beer at a time.
Co-founder and co-owner of Citizen Cider, Kris has a broad love for all things beer. A lover and a fighter for good causes, he believes that positive change in the world can be made through high-quality beverages.
Amy is the Executive Director at Stowe Area Association, loves all things Vermont, and has dabbled in the art of homebrewing.
JT started brewing beer at the ripe age of 14 while growing up in Burlington, VT. He is currently the owner and head brewer of Kaya’s Place Hotel and Brewery and BriBri Springs Brewery in Costa Rica.
Evie began her adventures in the beer industry working at The Lake Tahoe Brewing Company in 2004. With over a decade of restaurant experience, she now tends bar at Honey Road Restaurant. Her favorite part of the job is to help people figure out what kinds of flavors they like, and loves making craft beer more approachable for everyone.
Mike comes to us from Smugglers’ Notch Resort, where he is PR Director. His favorite kind of beer is served cold, outdoors, and always after snowboarding.
Will is the owner of Cold Brewtus. He became a semi-professional beer drinker 4 years ago when he and his wife started having kids.
Eric, primarily known as “Brother of Christina” also keeps from twiddling his thumbs by being a 6 time James Beard Nominee and Co-Owner at Hen of the Wood and Doc Ponds.
Jesse grew up in a AB house, yet his appreciation of craft beer blew up with the Vermont craft beer explosion. He not only loves VT beer, but also the friendships created by the industry!
George is Company Ogre and a Partner at the Beverage Warehouse. A self proclaimed expert in all that he does, he believes he is the inspiration for the Dos Equis “Most interesting Man in the World" campaign.
Meghan is in charge of the Vermont Grass Farmers Association and she drinks good beer!
Dan has been spinning tales and rock, folk, jazz and blues tunes on Independent Radio - The Point - WNCS for decades. He's an east coast kid, but acquired his beer chops in the taverns of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Billy is a homebrewer with over 10 years of experience working in the Food and Beverage industry at various locations including the original WaterWorks.
Stan is the former Brewing Apprentice at Westfield River Brewing Co, Event Coordinator for the Vermont Technical College Brew Fest, The Dancing Clerk/ Stanager at the Beverage Warehouse, and beer consumer at home. Stan is about to take a year off to travel the globe in search of the worlds best beer.
Michael is an administrator of a social media craft beer forum and local craft beer enthusiast.
Nate works for the dedicated farm families who own Cabot Creamery Cooperative. He enjoys seriously sharp cheddar and seriously unique brew.
Brent has covered arts and entertainment for the Burlington Free Press since 2004 and frequently contributes stories about beer to the Free Press food section, Savorvore.
Ryan is a Partner / Creative Director at Independent Allied, a Stowe, VT based design firm specializing in bike, ski, craft beer and spirits industries.
Tom is the Beer Manager for Doc Ponds, a member of the Alchemist canning crew and Certified Cicerone®.
Zach is the Founder of Purple Hearts Reunited.
Mike is a Manager/Craft beer liaison for Jolley.
Matthew is a Bartender at Blackback Pub.
BJCP Certified Beer Judge Erik Sandblom first became interested in brewing over 20 years ago and has been a member of the Green Mountain Mashers homebrew club for almost as long.
Dan has been homebrewing since 1982 and a judge for 25 years.
A Certified BJCP judge, Ted is a native of Portland, OR. He's the first-ever winner of the Pure Water Brew competition, making beer from treated effluent.
Ben is the Owner/Head Brewer of Northern Bayou Cold Brew, a worldwide beer explorer, homebrew enthusiast, and frequent pro brew collaborator.
Sas Stewart is the co-owner of Stonecutter Spirits, and also an avid aged beer fan who secretly drinks the occasional Canadian lager.
Matt is a parent, volunteer, production manager, and beer guzzler who once used hops he grew to make soap.
Shane is a part time homebrewer, and full time Alchemist brewery employee / beer drinker.
Mike works at 4 quarters brewing, Beverage warehouse, and is a self proclaimed beer consuming champion.
Ricky the Meadmaker
Ricky the Meadmaker makes mead at Groennfell Meadery.
Dori is Farrell Distributing's fine wine and craft beer team route jumper.
Justin is the Chief Beer Officer at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. When he’s not curating the beer at Farmhouse you can find him crushing pilsners and teaching his daughters the subtle nuances of the light lager.
Garin owns and operates Frost Beer Works.
Justin is the assistant Beer Manager at Beverage Warehouse.
Maegan is Switchback Brewing Company's Territory Sales Manager.
Pam is the "Princess of Vermont Beer".
Isaac works at Beverage Warehouse and 4 Quarters Brewing.
Joel T. Bedard
Joel is the Founder & CEO of The Vermont Hemp Company — collaborators of hemp brews offered by Stone Corral, Prohibition Pig and Green Empire Brewing—Joel is at the forefront of Cannabis-infused and hemped craft ales.
Jesse is a Brewer at Magic Hat Brewing Company.
As the Beer & Cheese Maven, Ruth has curated and presented beer & cheese pairings at beer fests, Beer Weeks, VT Cheesemakers Festival and brewpubs since 2006, and writes articles for Brew Your Own Magazine.
Chris owns Cheese Factory Automotive, is a regional VW / Audi guru, and a part time mustache enthusiast.
Taylor is the Beer & Wine Associate for Healthy Living. His love of biochemistry, botany, and food fuels a mild obsession with brewing & vinification.
William is the Co- Owner Doc Ponds & Hen of the Wood.
As manager of the Beverage Warehouse, Jason has a sharp mind for business and a palate that has cultivated beer, wine, and liquor selections throughout the northeast.
Dan is an accomplished brewer who has worked in several of Vermont’s well-known breweries and brewpubs and is currently Brewmaster at 14th Star Brewing Co.
State Craft Beer Manager at Farrell Distributing and Cicerone® Certified Beer Server, Jason enjoys a hands-on approach managing brands directly at retail and within the Sales Team.
Josh has worked in distribution side of craft beer for the last 15 years currently working for the best distributor, Farrell distributing.
Bob resides in Stowe and is the Co-founder of Collective Arts Brewing in Toronto, Ontario.
Dave worked as a beertender for 13 years and still misses it today. He believes in the mantra, "Life is too short to drink shitty beer!"
Jesse has worked in the front of restaurants for 15 years now, and is currently a full time bartender at Leunigs Bistro and Mule Bar.
Andrew was an avid homebrewer for over 7 years and is currently Head Brewer/Co-Owner of Good Measure Brewing Co. in Northfield, VT.
Jim has been in restaurants and bars for over 15 years. He enjoys his role as Service Manager at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill where the beer flows like wine and burger lovers flock like the salmon of Capistrano.
What started as a pint has turned into a self proclaimed craft beer addiction for Alex who thinks there is a craft beer out there for everyone, you just have to find it!
As General Manager of Mule Bar, Troy thinks those who can’t brew, drink!
Jordon Arthur Lewis
Having only gotten into craft beer a little over a year, Jordon has approached the hobby with passion and fervor. He is exactly the type of person who your beers will "speak too".
Brit is the host and producer of the weekly TV segment, 'What's on Tap?', aimed to educate beer drinkers on how Vermont craft beer is made.
As a bartender and a manager at Farmhouse Tap & Grill Kristin is no stranger to introducing folks to new beer. She loves getting her mind blown and her palate unraveled by any beer she can get her hands on.
Drinking unconventional beers for as long as he can remember, Scott is currently working at Beverage Warehouse and 4 Quarters. He believes that the best part of the craft beer movement is the camaraderie and shared experiences with others.
Andre C. is always on the prowl for great beer. He is that guy hunched over the draft list at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill studiously planning his next pour.
In 2013 Angela's hobby and passion became an award winning adventure. Her company, Tipsy Pickle, LLC, creates crisp flavorful pickles made with local ingredients including Vermont craft brews and spirits.
A homebrewer of 6+ years, Mark started The Reservoir with a focus on Vermont craft beer with 38 draft lines, and recently opened The Bench in Stowe with 24 draft lines. The man knows his beer.
@HopSnobbery has been a Make The Cut judge since year one and is the pseudonym of a 20+ year Vermont beer drinker who co-founded Vermont Beer Week (now @LoveVermontBeer) held in 2015 and 2016.
Paul has been a photographer / beer connoisseur since 1995. The first time he smelled boiling wort he knew there was more to beer than just catching a buzz.
Jeff came to the beer business through the wine door. He is currently the Curator of the Curriculum at Farrell Distributing.
You can't think of media in Vermont without this man coming to mind. As executive producer, anchor, and award-winning reporter at WCAX - Channel 3 News Darren knows Vermonters are making the tastiest beers in the world.
You may know her better by her Twitter & Instagram alias LipstickNLager. Bethany has been a Make the Cut judge since year one. The original founder of Vermont Girls Pint Out, and co-founder of Vermont Beer Week (2015 & 2016) has been enjoying craft beer as long as she was able to.
Steve founded 14th Star Brewing Co. upon returning from Afghanistan in 2011 and is a former President of the Vermont Brewers Association.
We have partnered with some great people
and places to make this competition possible.
Interested in becoming a Make The Cut Partner?
Contest Rules & Regulations
- Competition is open to Vermont residents over 21 only. Proof of residence and age will be required of finalists.
- Open to anyone who is not currently brewing professionally or owns a brewery. Other brewery employees (Administrative staff, sales team, etc.) are eligible to enter, provided they are not involved in brewing/cellaring.
- Only one entry recipe per individual/team.
- Competition is open to all recognized beer styles, however, brewers should make note of the competitions timelines. (ie, a year-long barrel aged beer is out of the scope of the competition)
- Winning recipes from previous years competitions are not eligible to enter, however, all participating homebrewers are welcome to compete again.
- Winner of the Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge will maintain all rights to their original recipe.
- Portions of the contest will be photographed and filmed. By accepting the terms of the contest, you authorize Beverage Warehouse and 14th Star to use your likeness in promotional material.
- Registration fee is $13. 100% of all registration fee profits go to charity — half will be donated to Purple Hearts Reunited and the remaining profits will be donated to a charity of the winner’s choice and $300 to a charity chosen by the runner-up.
- Due to limited space registration fees are non-refundable, but you can feel good knowing your money will be put to good use by a charity!
- Registration is capped at 200 entries, one entry per person.
- After two weeks of open registration, if all 200 spots have not been taken, registered homebrewers will be allowed a chance to submit a second entry (for an additional entry fee).
- A minimum of 125 total homebrew entries are needed to hold the completion. If minimum entry numbers are not met, registered homeberews will be notified and refunded their entry fee.
- A total of six (6) bottles are required for judging. 6 (six) 12oz or 6 (six) 22oz bottles of your homebrew must be hand delivered to the 14th Star Brewery (133 North Main St #7, St Albans VT 05478) on one of the three designated drop-off dates:
- Thursday, January 25th, 2018 between the hours of 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Friday, January 26th, 2018 between the hours of 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Saturday, January 27th, 2018 between the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Entries brought in before or after drop off dates will not be considered.
- Bottles should be submitted without a label or identifying mark.
- Upon submission homebrew entries must be carbonated and ready for cold storage.
- Any mailed entries will be returned to sender, if possible, or destroyed without judging.
- All entries must have proper submission form (provided via email to all those who register) and recipe enclosed to be considered.
- Recipes must include, at a minimum:
- Grain bill
- Hop schedule
- Yeast used
- Adjuncts/other ingredients
- Mash temp/time/type/steps/water volume, etc
- Sparge time/temp/water volume etc
- Fermentation times/temps/steps, etc
- Source of water: Tap, bottled, spring, snow, sap, rain, etc
- Brewing salt additions/filtration methods
- Brewing water chemistry, if known.
Judging & Prizes
- Make The Cut has been designed to be a homebrew competition unlike any other! Judging to determine the winner of the Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge consists of three rounds and features judges composed of hand selected members of the beer industry, local media, and fans of craft beer. Each round of judging will be done in an innovative industry format and beers will be tapped to move on if they “Make the Cut”:
- Round 1 – A selection of varied beers are be given to panels of judges. Each panel of judges will pick their two favorite brews (regardless of style) from their lot to send to the second round. No number scores will be given, but notes (what they liked/didn’t like) will be recorded and mailed back for each entry.
- Round 2 – The “Master’s Table” will consist of experts in the craft beer field — from Industry Members to BJCP Judges. Out of the finalists from round one, they will select 2 beers to be brewed by the winning homebrewer at 14th Star Brewing for the people’s vote. This round will be an enhanced judging that looks for the next commercially viable standout. Unlike prior years they will not be judged by BJCP traditional standards.
- Round 3 – The two finalist from round two will be sold in tasting pairs at participating Make The Cut partner locations along with a ballot for public voting to determine the Make The Cut champion!
- Judges notes for all beers will be available upon request following the judging. Judges notes will be more extensive for brews that make it to round two of judging. If you would like to receive judges notes, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your homebrew submissions.
- Winning brewer will be presented with a check for $1,000 from The Beverage Warehouse and be invited back to brew a production sized batch of their winning beer at 14th Star Brewing Company (while maintaining rights to their recipe).
- The winning beer will be launched to the public the week of the Vermont Brewers Festival and will be available on tap at select bars and restaurants, as well as in cans at local craft beer stores statewide.
- The Brewer shall earn no monies from sales of the product. Majority value in this competition lie in the exposure of their product.