Can You Make The Cut?
The Beverage Warehouse and 14th Star Brewing Co. have created a homebrew competition unlike any other!
For the third 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 2017 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.
Graphic & Web Designer
David has been involved in the visual and creative side of the craft beer industry for over 7 years and currently works on designing packaging and promotional material for St. Albans own 14th Star Brewing Co. A homebrewer and dreamer himself, he is excited for the opportunity to lend his design and technical skills to the Make The Cut Homebrew Challenge.
New England IPA
Chris Kesler of Jericho, VT started homebrewing within the last couple of years and has quickly become a "faithful fanatic" when it comes to developing unique IPAs.
Chris’s New England IPA "Disco Montage" is an exciting new take on the IPA. This hazy, hop-forward, and well-balanced brew is designed to deliver a creamy mouthfeel, awesome aroma, and great juicy flavor.
Ted Ortiz Y Pino
Ted Ortiz Y Pino of Georgia, VT began brewing in 2010 and has been studying brewing in his spare time. He’s constantly experimenting with new recipes, ingredients, and techniques trying to make beers that are unique and ultimately make people smile.
Ted’s Fruit Sour "Squeeze The Day" is a perfect introduction to sour beer. This medium body kettle-soured beer is brewed with the peel of four citrus fruits and aims to be a refreshingly tart crowd-pleaser.
Congratulations to the Round One Finalists!
- Neil Allison (x2)
- John Brooklyn
- Jake Claro
- Maddie Cotter
- Ryan Dudley
- Craig Evans
- Aaron Fogg
- Jonathan Fuller
- Nick Guertin
- Dennis Hill
- Ken Hughes
- Jim Huntington
- Chris Kesler*
- Brian Mulhall
- Ted Ortiz Y Pino*
- Shane Racette (x2)
- David Randall
- Pete Sandon
- Mike Shellito
- Matthew Snelling
- Michael Staub
- Robert Stephens
- Joe Swan & Dan Macandrews
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 is brewed with the peel of four citrus fruits and aims to be a refreshingly tart crowd-pleaser.
Look for Squeeze The Day on tap and in cans at your favorite craft beer locations throughout Vermont this summer.
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 2017 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 professional beer judges; as well as hand selected members of the beer industry, local media, and fans of craft beer.
Check out our growing list of judges below!
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.
Kevin is the Beverage Supervisor for Jolley Stores.
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.
Hailey is director of Sales and Marketing for Drop-In Brewing Company and has spent time brewing with Vilija, both on a 15bbl system and a homebrew pilot system.
"Cellar Savant" and "Boss of the Brewhouse" are two of the many ways Ryan has been described. He began brewing in 2013 and loves all things beer. He's currently a brewer at 14th Star and makes a mean spaghetti sauce.
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.
Alex is the Assistant General Manager at Higher Ground. He loves the opportunity to provide patrons with delicious beverages with a healthy helping of live music. Rock n roll forever.
Joseph is a native Vermonter, passionate homebrewer, and a wicked craft beer aficionado who is currently working for Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville.
Kendra spends her time as a vegetable herder and cheese monger. She appreciates the efforts and creativity of craft beer makers who provide Vermonters with delicious varieties of beer.
Jamie is a moderator for a craft beer group on social media and a longtime craft beer enthusiast. He loves sharing and talking about beer!
Jessica is a Cicerone® Certified Server at Hen of the Wood Burlington and has been with the company since their opening of the Burlington location in September of 2013.
Travis is a hophead who has been working in the brewing industry for years starting as an employee with the Winooski Beverage Warehouse, Growler Garage, and is currently a full-time Bartender for Stone Corral Brewing.
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.
Chelsie is the General Manager & beer buyer at the Worthy Burger.
A southern Maine coastal boy at heart, Scott is Sommelier, General Manager and Co-Wine Director for Dedalus Wine Bar and has been working in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry for over 20 years.
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.
Scott is a biologist and a contributor to craft beer podcast, Two Brews. Scott likes to photograph his beer as much as he likes to homebrew it.
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 over 13 years ago. Now as a bartender and manager of The Farmhouse Tap and Grill she 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.
Events and Sponsorships Manager at Killington and Pico Mountain who slides sideways, paddles standing up, bikes downhill and drinks beer.
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.
A homebrewer since 1992 and winner of the 2016 competition, Roland is excited to help choose who his torch gets passed too!
Tim & Amy Brady
Tim (chief beer maker) and Amy (pub princess) are the founders of Whetstone Craft Beer & Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery in Brattleboro Vermont.
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.
Mary Anne Sheahan
Mary Anne is the Executive Director of Leadership Champlain and also directs the Chamber of Commerce Workforce Education and Development, promoting and retaining workforce talent in Vermont.
Pete, an Instructional Designer with the University of Vermont, is the man behind the curtain for the Business of Craft Beer program. He’s an avid craft beer fan and occasional home brewer.
Meghan has worked for the Vermont Fresh Network for 14 years. She drinks beer!
Christina is the front of house personality at Hen of the Wood. Finding her curious palette wandering one day while floating down a river drinking a Coors Light and then piquing in the wine world and evolving through all things beverage.
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.
Mike is a sales rep for Localvore Today in Burlington, VT and loves all things local — especially great beer and food! He has been known to enjoy a beer after a Mountain Bike ride or skiing here in Vermont.
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 has been actively involved in many aspects of the beer world over the last 5 years. Former Brewing Apprentice at Westfield River Brewing, Event Coordinator for the Vermont Technical College Brew Fest, The Dancing Clerk at the Beverage Warehouse, and beer consumer at home.
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®.
Mike is a Manager/Craft beer liaison for Jolley.
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.
Brewer at Hogback Mountain Brewing in Bristol, Kevin has been homebrewing since the late 70’s when it was legalized by Jimmy Carter.
Ted Assur is a recent transplant to the area. He has been a BJCP Certified judge for 5 years, and has judged over 20 competitions.
Jodi was the first microbrewery sales rep in the State of Vermont in the early 90's when she worked for Catamount Brewing and currently owns August First Bakery & Cafe with her husband, Phil.
Ben is the Owner/Head Brewer of Northern Bayou Cold Brew, a worldwide beer explorer, homebrew enthusiast, and frequent pro brew collaborator.
Sas is the Co-founder and Director of Strategy for Stonecutter Spirits.
Liam is the owner of the Growler Garage.
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.
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".
Cameron is the Food and Beverage Manager for Hotel Vermont.
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.
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 Growler Garage's Growler Guru & Bar Czar.
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.
As Farrell Distributing's Director of Marketing Ryan loves the Vermont brew scene, and is proud to have been a part of it for over 15 years.
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.
A hobbyist brewer since 2010, Michael currently operates Bent Hill Brewery where he strives to produce abstract creations.
Owner and brewer of Good Water Brewery in Williston, Marty is an award winning homebrewer with over 25 years experience, a BJCP Certified Judge, and has a degree form the American Brewer's Guild.
Bob resides in Stowe and is the Co-founder of Collective Arts Brewing in Toronto, Ontario.
As beer concierge of Hotel Vermont, Matt helps his guest find Vermont’s most sought after beers while highlighting lesser known local favorites.
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.
Patrick has been buying beer at Hunger Mountain Coop for the last 8-10 years and has been amazed at the craft beer movement here in the great state of Vermont.
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!
Nate was an homebrewer and economist for six years before becoming the brewer at Prohibition Pig's new brewery.
Ashley is a Cicerone® Program Certified Beer Server at Leunig's and The Daily Planet who is dedicated to educating locals and visitors alike on the VT beer scene.
A homebrewer of 4 years, Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Steve Cook has worked closely with Vermont’s craft beer brands during his 8 years in office.
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".
Calmont Beverage's Tony O'Rourke has consumed and served plenty of cold ones. A Vermonter since 1997, Tony remembers when the craft beer movement was just getting started.
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.
Starting in the biz working the bottling line at Wachusett Brewery, Brian is now the beer and wine buyer for Healthy Living's South Burlington and Saratoga Springs locations.
@HopSnobbery is the social media alter-ego of an 18 year veteran of the Vermont beer scene. With 1,300+ Twitter followers @HopSnobbery's identity is a mystery, but his love for craft beer is not.
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.
Musician, videographer, and DJ, Matt enjoys a fine brown ale and is a host of the popular craft beer podcast "Two Brews".
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 alias @LipstickNLager, Bethany has enjoyed craft beer as long as she was legally 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 not currently brewing professionally or owners of breweries. Administrative staff, sales people, etc employed at brewing companies are eligible, 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)
- 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. Half of all registration fee profits will be donated to Purple Hearts Reunited, the remaining profits will be donated to a charity of the winner’s choice and $300 to the runners up selected charity.
- 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.
- 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 26th between the hours of 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Friday, January 27th between the hours of 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Saturday, January 28th 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 to be stored cold.
- 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 each panel 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 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.
- 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.