Contest Nitty Gritty

Contest Nitty Gritty

You guys are probably wondering why we haven’t posted the 2009 Build a Better Burger® finalists yet…I mean, it’s almost Labor Day! But here’s the thing. It takes time to verify all the Affidavits of Eligibility. The trick is that, in trying to verify that everyone is eligible, we find that people don’t even realize that they are ineligible! It’s totally not their fault but then we have to start the process over again with the next semi-finalist in line.

We thought it would be a good idea to give you a look into what happens in the selection process. This also gives us an opportunity to explain why we can’t possibly get back to every.single.person. who enters a recipe and let them know if they passed the review or not.

First off, let’s cover the ever-intriguing topic of government rules. We have to consider the state alcohol beverage laws that say something to the effect that a winery can’t give any “thing of value” to an entity/person working for an entity with a liquor license as it could be construed as incentive to sell our product. And believe me, a $50,000 cash prize is a thing of value!

That is just one example but that’s why we have to be careful when verifying our finalists. If your spouse works at a restaurant that has a liquor license, sadly, the contest rules make you ineligible because winning $50,000 might be construed as “giving something of value” to your spouse. It’s not awesome on our part to have to tell someone who has worked so hard on a recipe that they can’t compete because of that rule. There’s lots of things we have to think about…that’s just one.

But that is also why we haven’t posted names yet, because in theory, they aren’t set in stone yet.

Finally, addressing the age-old (trust me, you guys aren’t the only ones who ask it) question as to why we can’t let everyone know if their recipe was disqualified in the review round: the answer is actually simple. It comes down to manpower. We get flooded with entries. I mean, I remember one year not-so-long ago in which we got well over 10,000 recipes. 10,000 very in-depth recipes. And our review team (which isn’t made up of a ton of bodies) looks at Twice. With their own eyes. There is no automated system. It’s good ol’ fashioned review. So after that happens, the stack of recipes is really just too darn big to contact the owners of the recipes who haven’t passed. The other side of the coin is that if we contact them telling them they are disqualified, then people will want to know what specifically DQ’ed them. The truth is that it’s various reasons—ingredients are out of order, you forgot to include buns as an ingredient (it happens!) or maybe the patty isn’t ground meat of some sort, just to name a few.

All these reasons contribute to being disqualified in the review round but imagine having to contact 5,000+ people, each with a different reason for not making it past the review. Sadly, we just don’t have manpower. We need all the help we can getting ready for the contest because once it closes for entries, it’s a whirlwind around the winery trying to get everything in order.

We’re very excited that everyone is passionate about Build a Better Burger®…we are too and love to share everything with you, hence this looooong blog post.

NOW…here is an official announcement. The finalists for the 2009 Build a Better Burger® Contest will be announced on Monday, August 31, 2009 by 12 p.m. (noon) PDT. Look for the results at

Learn more about Build a Better Burger

The State of the Burger Union

Build a Better Burger

The State of the Burger Union