ACS Counter Culture Challenge

The ACS Merchandising Competition has evolved – and for 2012 that means the launch of The ACS Counter Culture Challenge! Consider it “Top Cheese” for retailers, cheesemongers, distributors, and anyone who has what it takes to create amazing, beautiful, delectable cheese displays. If you think you’ve tackled a lot of cheese in your day, you ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you take on the ultimate challenge: The ACS Festival of Cheese on August 4, 2012 in Raleigh, NC.

Think you’ve got what it takes to wow the judges?  Think your region can show up other parts of the country?  Do you dream of being neck-deep in cheese?  Check out the details below, and sign up to show your Counter Culture.

How to sign up:

  • Form a 2-person team (you can both be from one store/company, or feel free to rope in a colleague from another shop, company, restaurant….)
  • Pick a spiffy team name
  • Complete the registration form via the link below (there is no charge to participate, but space is limited and will be issued in the order in which forms are received.)
  • Counter Culture Challenge participants who register to attend the full conference will receive a $100 refund (mailed to you via check following the conference)
  • Get ready for one helluva day in Raleigh!

How it works:

  • The final number of teams will be based on this year’s Competition categories. (First-come, first-served based on registration date.)
  • Each team will be assigned to a category of cheeses in a random drawing held in the ACS headquarters in Denver (very exciting and dramatic!). Teams will be informed of their assigned category at least one week prior to the event.
  • Arrive at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 4 at the Raleigh Convention Center, Ballrooms B-C.  Competition cheeses will come out to begin prep at 10:00 a.m.
  • Each team will be responsible for preparing their cheeses, setting up their displays, properly marking cheeses, and  ensuring their area is cleared and completely ready by 5:45 p.m.
  • Volunteers will be provided to assist you (they may or may not know anything about cheese…but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers.)  If you’re picky, you may choose to bring up to 4 volunteer assistants of your own.  Please advise ACS in advance of your volunteer roster.
  • Each team will be provided with the same basic equipment, supplies, and decorative materials:
    • Cutting boards, knives, cheese wires, gloves, hairnets
    • Plates, platters, trays, baskets, utensils, toothpicks
    • Signs, stands, and competition ribbons
    • Decorative materials such as risers, boxes, fabric, table cloths, fruit, flowers, etc
  • Each team member receives an official ACS apron and cap
  • In addition, each team may bring display materials to create their own unique masterpiece (receipts for materials must be submitted and show that purchases did not exceed $100).
  • Don’t worry – we’ll feed you!  Lunch will be provided.

How to win:

  • At 5:45 p.m., the official Counter Culture judges will enter to review each of the tables. Each judge will select his/her choice for winner. The panel of judges will be selected at the sole discretion of the ACS Festival of Cheese planning group, and will represent a cross-section of ACS membership. Please email [email protected] if you would like to be considered as a judge.
  • Judges will complete their scoresheets and cast their votes for the winners based on several criteria including: cheese preparation and handling skills (judges will stop by mid-day to watch teams in progress); overall aesthetics and attractiveness of display; how well the display reflects this year’s conference theme “Cheese Rally in Raleigh: Owning our Future”.
  • At the end of the Festival, ACS will announce the Counter Culture Official Winning Team!

The prize:

  • Each member of the winning team receives a certificate and a choice of complimentary registration to the ACS 2013 Annual Conference (est. $495 value) or complimentary registration for the ACS 2013 Certified Cheese Professional Exam ($500 value, must meet eligibility requirements).  Awards are non-transferable.
  • All participants receive great visibility for themselves and their businesses at conference, in ACS publications, via social media, and through coverage of the event in Culture Magazine.

Register Your Team!