We knew the festival would sell out fast, but none—not even the most wizened GABF veterans—expected the ticket sale to wrap up before the weekend. How fast was it? The Members-Only session filled up in 90 minutes on Tuesday, and public tickets sold in 45 minutes during the Thursday sale. Although it seems unbelievable, this week’s rapid sell out follows a trend of exponentially increasing demand. Five years ago, the event sold out the week of the event. Flash forward to 2011 and the festival sold out in a mere seven days, a leisurely pace relative to 2012′s frantic sale.
So what’s behind this trend that has taken many beer lovers by surprise? Nowadays there are many more beer lovers thirsting for a ticket to GABF. Brewers Association director, Paul Gatza, explains: “The lightning-quick sell out of GABF tickets is a reflection of how much interest there is for the beers of America’s small and independent craft brewers.” The increased interest in craft beer is reflected in the record number of U.S. breweries—more than 2,000—as well as the growing number of Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members, which boast more than 2,000 and 32,000 members, respectively. Naturally, demand extends beyond members and even, unfortunately, beyond the community of beer lovers. GABF suffers the same fate as other popular events and shows, where ticket brokers continuously work to beat any protections in place. Thus, Ticketmaster reviewed all purchases to enforce ticket quantity limits and ensured that no individuals were able to exceed the GABF’s established limits during the member pre-sale or the public ticket sale.
Simply put, demand is outstripping supply, and like many popular concerts or sporting events, tickets sell out fast. While we have increased the number of breweries pouring in the hall by 23 percent, event capacity has remained at 49,000 for the last three years to ensure that festival goers have a bit of breathing room as they sample a few of the 2,500+ beers on tap. What does the future hold for GABF? Demand is anticipated to increase, but rest assured; each year we thoroughly review the event and look for ways to make improvements while maintaining the character of the 31 year-old festival.
We hope we see you in Denver this October!