Great American Beer Festival Addresses Ticket Controversy

by The Drink Nation on Aug 5, 2013 in Beer
Great American Beer Festival Addresses Ticket Controversy

On July 31, nearly 50,000 tickets to the 2013 Great American Beer Festival sold out completely in under 20 minutes. Within an hour of the sellout, tickets to the Denver, CO beerfest began surfacing on secondary markets like StubHub and eBay — at extremely inflated prices.

The same quick sellout happened last year, and despite the Brewers Association’s best efforts to protect GABF tickets from scalpers this time around, there’s only so much that can be done. Ticketmaster is the official ticketing partner of GABF, and, per the BA, “there’s no perfect way to successfully avoid a secondary market for hot tickets — whether for popular concerts, sporting events or festivals.”

A quick look at these secondary markets shows you could conceivably spend over $900 for a ticket to the festival, which runs from October 10-12 at the Colorado Convention Center. In addition to the highest-priced option we found, several scalpers are offering tickets at $225–$300 each, still a rather substantial markup over the $75 face value. We did find  “four tickets for $500” — at $125 each, not that much above the  original price.

Beer fans who missed out on the official ticket sale are not happy, and have been filling the GABF Facebook page with angry comments. Suggestions range from non-transferable tickets to requiring the original purchasing credit card for the ticket upon entry. There may not be a viable solution for such a big event, however. A Brewers Association response posted last week addresses the concerns:

There are measures in place to decrease access for scalpers, including ticket limits we set for GABF ticket purchases (enforced by Ticketmaster), and Ticketmaster’s anti-bot and other security measures. Does this prevent scalper access? No, but it does decrease it. We will continue to evaluate options and solutions going forward.

To everyone who missed out on GABF, we feel you. But craft beer has clearly achieved rock star status, with all the attendant pros and cons.

Photos by Danya Henninger

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