Great American Beer Festival tickets snatched up in seconds; scalpers apparently score big

By Scott Rappold Updated: August 1, 2013 at 8:54 am • Published: July 31, 2013 | 12:00 pm 0

The Great American Beer Festival in Denver is the largest event of its kind, hosting 49,000 beer lovers at the Colorado Convention Center Oct. 10-12.

But if you tried to get tickets Wednesday and didn't happen to hit "refresh" at Ticketmaster.com at exactly the right moment, you were left thirsty.

Officially, the beer festival sold out in less than 20 minutes. Organizers, however, said nearly every available ticket was snatched up the second they went on sale at 10 a.m.

Scalpers clearly got their hands on plenty of them. More than 800 tickets were for sale at Stubhub for $140 and up by mid-morning. Face value is $75.

The day before, a pre-sale for members of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association sold out almost as quickly.

The difficulty in getting tickets - and the fact that scalpers seemed to obtain them with such ease - led to hundreds of negative comments on the festival's Facebook page. The festival always sells out, but before 2012 it took days or weeks.

Organizers have acknowledged the frustrations over the past two years, as the popularity of craft beer has made the festival into a national event. They say the festival is under contract with Ticketmaster through 2014, after which they will examine new ways to sell tickets.

"Going forward, all suggestions and options for ticketing solutions will be under review," organizers said in a statement on Facebook.

Read comments about the fast ticket sales and organizers' response here.

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