Great American Beer Festival scalpers drive us to drink

It's hard to know who to be angry at for what many people are calling #GABFail -- the ticketing fiasco that has marred the upcoming Great American Beer Festival. The Boulder-based Brewers Association put 49,000 tickets up for grabs beginning at 10 a.m. on August 2. But within two minutes, at least two of four GABF sessions had sold out.

The Brewers Association later tweeted that it took 45 minutes for all of the tickets to sell, although many people dispute that.

Tough tickets are always a problem (remember Radiohead and the Book of Mormon? How about Broncos tickets this year?). But GABF had never experienced anything like this before: it took a week to sell out in 2011. But beer lovers are angry. Really angry -- and they've expressed their feelings in droves on the organization's Facebook page.

Most people are blaming scalpers -- and indeed, there are already hundreds and hundreds of tickets for sale on eBay and StubHub for three or four times face value. If it's true that the scalpers figured out a way around GABF and Ticketmaster's anti-scalping practices and four-ticket limits, then they really are to blame.

And that's too bad. You would hope no one will pay those prices and they'll come down closer to face value by the time the festival starts on October 11 -- but that probably won't be the case. And Denver will lose out because of it.

More from our Shmuck archive: "D.J. Williams, Broncos linebacker, is a shmuck of non-human proportions."

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Glenn Chavez
Glenn Chavez

I got tickets with no problem. The issue is mainly that the event has become SO huge, combined with the fact that everybody now has MULTIPLE devices/methods to try and obtain tickets (computers/phones/smartphones), all this demand overwhelms the servers. If GABF were an event that didn't have such national/international interest (as in, if it "toured" to other locations as well as Denver), you wouldn't see nearly the huge crush on ticket sales like you saw on Thursday.

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Or just say, "Screw it" and not buy tickets second-hand especially for more than face that for a year or two and they'll get the picture. I for one am not paying extra just to go drink some beer even if some of it is not available locally. Also more tickets should ONLY be available for "in-person" purchase at a box office with a limit of two per person (maybe even one). This would increase the # of people scalpers would have to pay to do their dirty work and make it more of a PITA for them. Internet availability used to be a great thing but these sell-out stories such as this are becoming too common as there ARE ways to get around the blocks that are meant to prevent scalpers from over-purchasing. Or just sell them at the door. :)

Omar Amaya
Omar Amaya

I really wanted to take my dad this year, unfortunately I didn't act fast enough, off to craigslist , hopefully I don't have to pay an arm & leg for 2 tickets :/

Randall Erkelens
Randall Erkelens

I've always wanted to know how the scalpers have dead center, first row. And when Iog-in at the same time as the scalpers, I get somewhere in the middle (concerts). I'd like to cry foul and conspiracy. But there has to be some explanation why?


Call Steve Schnarr at the Denver Ticket Co.

He's the one who really got it going in Colorado,

in the late 19080's.

I know, I worked for the thief when he began.

WAY crooked business, mostly employed by

pure scumbags !

I was too honest. Didn't last long...

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Scalping = Free Market Capitalism



BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Just checked craigslist.  For those prices, you can go to Applejack's and get one each of their individual craft beers. Most of it is the stuff they pour at the GABF anyways.  I call it The Great Home Beer Festival.  It's not crowded, no line for the bathroom, no drunk assholes (except yourself), and no cab fare.  

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