The Great American Beer Festival sold out -- all 55,000 or so tickets -- in an amazing seven days this year, or roughly twelve weeks before the world's biggest beerapalooza begins on September 29. Last year's fest sold out about five weeks before the event, while the 2009 festival didn't fill up until two weeks prior to the start date. "Holy cow," says festival organizer Nancy Johnson. "That was amazing."
General admission tickets for the three-day affair -- priced at $60 per day -- went on sale June 30, while tickets for members of the Boulder-based Brewers Association and the American Homebrewers Association had gone on sale two days before that.
Johnson isn't sure why it happened it so fast, but she has a few guesses. "I think, one, craft beer is doing great right now. There is more of it out there, people are more familiar with it, and it's an opportunity for people in Colorado to try things you can't get here. It's fun, and there is also social media. That doesn't hurt either."
And while the quick sell-out means that not everyone who wanted a ticket will be able to go, Johnson says she'd be lying if she said it didn't make her happy. "One thing it says is that people who bought tickets really wanted to go, rather than having it be a last minute thing that people decide to try out. It gives us more of an engaged audience," she adds.
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Despite the demand, however, Johnson says the Brewers Association has no plans to expand the fest either by adding a fourth day or by selling more tickets. "That's not happening," she insists, "at least not anytime soon."
The 2011 Great American Beer Festival runs from September 29 to October 1 and will include 471 breweries, about twenty more than in 2010.