Believers in Better Beer (In Cincinnati and Beyond)
Does anyone else think the Duke Energy Center is TOO big for this beer fest? After the 7:30 general admission last night it was impossible to get a beer without waiting 10-20 minutes in line. I miss the days of holding the fest at Jungle Jim’s or the Radisson. I’m all for a smaller venue with fewer tickets sold so you get to try more different beers.
I event had a great turnout, but it was executed very poorly. I probably went to about 5 tasting festivals when I moved out to San Diego.
Needless to say I have never been to a beer fest where I had to wait in line 20 minutes for one sample.
Next year, the organizers should look at having entry block times. For example, have a group from 1-4, 5-8, and 8-11.
Also, it is completely unacceptable that 60% of the kegs were gone by 9:30pm.
Seems like this was organized to turn a profit rather than it being an actual tasting/marketing/PR event.
Agreed. All the proceeds go to charity so you can’t really fault them for going big, but something needs to change. I’d also like to see more brewery employees at the tables. Highlights of the night for me were talking to Scott from Blank Slate and the owner/brewer of Weasel Boy.
WOW!! That must have been Saturday because I don’t think Friday was that packed. Good Times Friday night, I can’t wait until next year.
I definitely would like to see something change in regards to the crowd on Saturday night. I would have been very disappointed had I not had a great time already at the Friday night session. I knew the crowd was going to be bigger Saturday than Friday, but I think it was way oversold.
So’s here’s the question? How much *more* are you willing to pay per ticket to have fewer people on Saturday night? $10? $20? Should Saturday prices be higher than Friday? Renting the Convention Center isn’t exactly cheap, and as Michael points out, the point of the exercise is charity (and a darned worthy one at that).
What’s the maximum amount of time you’re willing to spend in line?
Would you still go if you had to pay $20 more and you knew that you had to have your tickets at least two weeks in advance to be able to go Saturday night? I’m not asking that to be provocative, I’m serious.
Remember, too, that the folks doing the pouring are unpaid volunteers. Expanding to multiple sessions doubles, if not triples, the difficulty of getting enough people to pour. Take it from someone who’s done it, three hours of pouring is about all you can really expect from someone who’s not getting paid.
Back in the days over at the Radisson in Covington there were two sessions on Saturday. You know what? Everyone wanted the late one. Why it would be any different now escapes me. Instead of pointing out that Friday was just fine and Saturday sucked, we’d point out that Friday and Saturday afternoon were fine, but Saturday night sucked.
So let’s say there were 10,000 people there Saturday night. How many people do you want to reduce that by? Remember: every 1000 you reduce it by also reduces your chance of getting a ticket by 10%.
You can wish for the number of tickets to be reduced and the price not to go up, and I’ll continue to wish for calorie-free fried chicken. Neither are going to happen. So the core question is, how much do you want to pay?
For me personally, I think I would only pay more for something like the Connoisseur tickets (how was that by the way?) where I’d get to try a bunch of rare/limited beers, guaranteed. Beer fests this big are still pretty fun but not really what I’m looking for anymore. I’ve tried a ton of beers and now just want to try something I never see. There’s still value in the size it’s gotten to for people who want to try a lot, but I’d hate to see them get discouraged by the long lines. A lot of people just want to try new beers but aren’t willing to pay a lot and wait in line. I don’t know what the solution is for them.
The huge crowds are the main reason I’ve yet to attend the fest at the convention center. I don’t want to stand in a line forever to try a beer only to have the keg get kicked before I get there. Jungle Jim’s is still having their own beerfest, but the problem there is the venue has become too small for the crowd it draws. I stopped going to that one because of it. This year they’re apparently doing it over two days, so I’ll probably give it a shot.
Maybe the answer is a price increase, but as Michael hinted at I would then expect a more rare and limited offering of beers. Tickets for the GABF run $60 per 4.5 hour session. I’ve paid that price for at least the last four years and never had a problem paying that much, knowing that I would sample some great beers once inside. There are lines at some of booths at GABF, but it is never like what I saw this past Saturday with lengthy lines at every single booth on the floor.
If pricing stays the same for the Cincy Beer Fest, I would likely just skip the Saturday session and hope that the Friday session remained uncrowded. The only way I would think about doing Saturday again is if the tickets came as part of a package, such as with the 5B this year.
To answer some of Tom’s other questions, I don’t think Saturday should be a more expensive ticket, each session should be the same price. The fact that most people want to attend on Saturday night makes it easy for me to avoid that crowd. I’m not a patient line person, so I’d say five minutes is the most I personally like to wait. I bought my tickets way in advance, so I have no problem getting them early either.
I believe a ticket price increase would help as well!
As for the volunteering question. If you limited the amount of people per sessions wouldn’t you need less volunteers to man the booths per session.
Only one or two people would be needed per session rather than 4-5. I don’t see a need for more volunteers, have the same amount but have less working the booths during the different sessions.
Hell, if this thing gets big enough, maybe the actual brewery workers would make the trip down to Cincinnati to pour they own beers.
I also understand that everyone would want the later time. But I know from my experiences with these beer fests, if the later time is sold out, you still go, just at one of the times that isn’t sold out.
I also don’t think prices need to be raised. Just have a limited number of tickets per session. If you really want to make the late night sessions more exclusive, then increase those prices. I have also seen that before.
To me, its all about limiting tickets for a couple of different sessions. Keep prices the same, and have less volunteers per session. You won’t need the same amount of volunteers in a 10,000 person attendance event as a 3,000 person.
That being said, this was a great step forward for the city beer scene and went to a worthy cause. Just a few issues need to be resolved next year!
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