For Loveland Aleworks, the bad news this week was actually the good news.
The brewery was one of hundreds left in the dust on July 9 when registration for the Great American Beer Festival closed a mere two hours after opening under a crush of demand from anxious beer-makers around the country.
See also: - Mountain Sun/Vine Street breweries hoping for the best after being left out of GABF - More than 300 breweries sit on the GABF waiting list - Breweries scramble to register for GABF, which plans to increase in size in 2013
As a result, Loveland Aleworks, which opened in July 2012, ended up on a waiting list with more than 360 would-be participants, all of them hoping that festival organizers would somehow find enough room to allow a few more breweries into the mix.
On Tuesday, the Boulder-based Brewers Association, which hosts the festival, gave Aleworks owner Nick Calloway his wish -- sort of. "They said we could be on the floor pouring our beer, but that our beers won't be judged in the competition," Calloway says. "They did what they could for us, and now we're really excited just to be there again. It's awesome to be a part of it."
Although he likened the situation to sitting in the backseat of the car, at least he gets to take the ride. "I feel lucky," he adds, "like I won a scratch ticket."
Around 600 breweries registered for the festival, which takes place October 10-12 at the Colorado Convention Center, but hundreds more ended up on waiting list.
The demand surprised many of them since it took two days to sell out registrations in 2012, and only seventy breweries were stuck on the waiting list last year.
To deal with the situation, the Brewers Association is sorting through the registration and eliminating duplicates or invalid entries and then adding wait-listed companies.
It has also decided to let a couple of dozen wait-listed breweries pour beer at the 2013 festival, even though those breweries won't be allowed to enter their beer into competition because there aren't enough judges available to judge them all.
The organization won't release its final list of which breweries will be at the festival for several days, or possibly several weeks, but there are likely to be several big-name brewers who won't be on the list.
Loveland Aleworks plans to pour five beers: American Sour Ale, Imperial Stout, IPA, Mandarina Bavarina, Single Hop Pale Ale and Abbey Grand Cru.
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