By Ric Rhinehart, Executive Director, SCAA
We have had a chance to get a tremendous amount of input over the past few weeks on the regional barista competitions and their place in our community. All of the staff and directors at the SCAA recognize the value these events bring to a wide range of stakeholders, beyond the competitors and judges and sponsors and deep into our diverse coffee community. We are committed to exploring how to balance the need to deliver the most value possible to our members with the realities of producing and staffing events. I am confident that by working collaboratively within our membership we can bring out the kind of creativity, passion and thoughtful innovation necessary to keep delivering value in the competition arena.
Yesterday, an infographic illustrating the financial realities of producing the regional coffee competitions was released through the Barista Guild of America. Read the original text from the BGA blog below:
In the discussion around the sustainability and feasibility of the SCAA Regional Coffee Competitions, a major conversation point has been the financial realities of putting on these events. In an attempt to inform discussion, Barista Guild Executive Council chair Lorenzo Perkins had an idea – what if we broke down the costs of putting on these events on a per-competitor basis, and then created an infographic to communicate the info. Inspired by such infographics as Everlane did here, our attempt is to make a document that communicates the information clearly and transparently, in a desire to help figure out how we can do regional barista competitions in a sustainable way. Lorenzo asked SCAA staff to work up such an image, working off the costs of the 2015 USBC cycle.
So here it is, the costs of doing a regional barista competition, based on data from the 2015 cycle. It’s important to note that in the interest of providing a concise snapshot of financial costs for conversation, we’ve left out a lot: hundreds of volunteers, judges, and supporters are essential to making any regional barista competition happen. In addition, these numbers don’t capture the value created for spectators, coffee producers, and the coffee community.
The total amount it took to make the regionals happen was $231,210.72. There were 216 total competitors (Brewers Cup and Barista Competition) who competed regionally, making the total cost per competitor $1,070.42. We broke down the costs further in the smaller circles, and showed who paid for what percentage of the costs as a pie graph at the top.
As far as the cost breakdown goes, things are pretty self-explanatory: the SCAA employs a small staff exclusively to manage the barista competitions, and of course this is the largest cost of doing these events. Venue rental is a big cost too. It can be challenging to find a place that can handle the electrical needs of a barista competition and accommodate an audience at the same time. Speaking of electrical, that’s another big cost.
As the graph shows, the registration fees paid by competitors only cover a very small part of the cost of doing the events. Sponsorships from generous companies cover a large portion, but the largest contribution comes from the SCAA general fund, to the tune of over $100,000 in total for the regional events alone.
It’s our hope that this information leads to a clearer understanding of the finances of the regional barista competitions, and is offered in the spirit of transparency, discussion and collaboration. A committee has been tasked with evaluating member feedback and taking a look at these costs to determine the appropriate evolution of the regional competition program. We look forward to productive conversations about the future of regional coffee events!
If you would like to share your thoughts or ideas on the subject of regional barista events, we have developed this survey to provide the opportunity for you to weigh in on the conversation. We would appreciate your feedback to help us make informed decisions with the barista community.