News & Updates

Autumn Brew Review Tickets on Sale Wednesday, 8/1

Round II of Autumn Brew Review tickets go on sale on Wednesday at noon. Visit for tickets.  Autumn Brew Review is the gold-standard for beer festivals in Minnesota. As one of longest-running, most well-organized festivals in the state, Autumn Brew Review is not to be missed.

This year’s fest is on Saturday, September 15th. This time around, the festival returns a to a single session, from 1-5pm. Tickets are $40 in advanced or $50 at the door if any are left. Not to be missed! More details as we get closer to the event.


  1. Andy S says:

    So who got to buy pre-sale tickets? How many were sold? Will this make it more difficult to purchase tickets now? At some point this event needs to grow bigger whats stopping 150 poeple from buying all the tickets and re-selling them for a astonomical price.

  2. Ben says:

    Last year people weren’t buying and scalping them. The morning session didn’t even sell out and you could buy tickets at the door. You’re thinking Winterfest. And with the ticket max, it’s not a small number of people buying and reselling them. Sure some people will always try to do that but the vast majority don’t do so.

    You mention that the event needs to grow bigger. I hope not. That’s what they tried doing last year with the 2 sessions. Getting bigger with a single session means more crowded area with longer lines for beer, food, and the bathrooms. No thanks.

    There weren’t a lot of pre-sale tickets so I wouldn’t worry about it. There are about 3000 tickets for this years fest so there are plenty to go around.

  3. Duke says:

    If I’m not mistaken they sold 1500 tickets in the first round of sales. It sold out in short order. I don’t know how many tickets are available for this event total, but if it’s 3000, which seems about right, then there will be 1500 tickets available Weds. If that is the case, I expect this round to sell as fast if not faster than the last round. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Ben says:

    Says “about 3000” on the MN Brewers Guild website. Didn’t realize they did that many in the first round. I was on the golf course and got online about 8 minutes after they went on sale and they were gone. Sure went quick.

  5. Trav says:

    Appears Duke was right-Sold out in about a minute. Pity I wasnt near a computer.

  6. Ben says:

    There were still tickets available 3-4 minutes in. And even after that you could reload from time to time and tickets were available that had been released from shopping carts of those that didn’t finish checking out.

    I’m happy with the number of tickets sold. I don’t want longer lines for beer, food, and bathrooms. I don’t want to feel packed in there shoulder to shoulder with everyone. Sadly for every event like this, these things are popular and do sell out.

    I’d much rather have a chance at tickets online than have to wait in lines for more than 6 hours to get them like the Great Taste of the Midwest (they also have a mail in lottery but there is no guarantee that you’ll get tickets through that method).

  7. Eric says:

    I think it took about 22 minutes for the temptickets website to go from “N/A” to “Sold Out” on the ticket purchase page. I got mine about 7 minutes in, but only a single ticket. I wanted to buy for three other friends, but alas. 250 people could have effectively bought all 1500 2nd round tickets. Maybe a slightly smaller max ticket number, like Winterfest?

    f5 f5 f5 f5 f5 f5 f5 f5 was my lunch break

  8. Andy says:

    Have been going to the ABR every year. Was on at exactly noon and got the N/A. Tried refreshing, no dice. Unfortunate that they went the route of this unadvertised first round sale. How did people find out about that first sale? Pretty disappointed since I’ve attended every other year and had no problem buying given I was online right at the start of the sale.

  9. Trav says:

    Guild twitter said it sold out in five minutes. I tried at 12:09 and there was nothing available. I scored winterfest tix this year, so I guess you dont win them all. There has to be a better solution to selling these tickets though. Last year was great w/ the two sessions. people were way more spread out, and morning session never did sell out. Maybe that was the problem.

  10. Brian says:

    Went last year (after buying overpriced tickets from a scalper), and had a great time. This year, I decided to get my tickets direct from the source and save myself some money. Ha ha…yeah, that’s what I thought I’d do. Cruised home on my lunch break, went to the page 10 mins before noon, and as soon as the clock hit 12:00 I tried to purchase 4 tix. Kept saying N/A, so I switched to 2 tix. Still kept getting “none available”. Hit refresh over and over til it gave the option to choose a quantity. Even If I chose 1 ticket it gave the “none available” message. This went on for 19 minutes until it said “sold out”. Guess If I want to go, I’ll probably have to pay double face value to a scalper again. WHY DON’T THEY MAKE THE MAX NUMBER ABLE TO BE PURCHASED IN ONE TRANSACTION 4 INSTEAD OF 8?!! It’s obvious some of these people are buying more than they need, knowing that tix are tough to get, and then selling their extras way over face value, therefore turning a nice profit and pretty much going for free.

  11. Duke says:

    I knew about the first round of ticket sales well in advance. Pretty sure the info was right there on the Guilds website. Maybe there wasn’t much lead time? I don’t know, but it wasn’t a secret. The two session system seemed to work well enough. Who cares if Imp Stout X aged on Himilayan monkey whiskers wasn’t available at both sessions? I go to have fun and drink beer, not to tick some one off, limited release whale.

  12. Trav says:

    The first session sales was advertised on the Guild website, but I have to believe not even hardcore beer geeks are checking that site on a daily or even weekly basis.

    I too wish they would have stuck to the two session system.

  13. Andy S says:

    So did you get a ticket Trav? I may have a lead on a extra ticket

  14. Ben says:

    Andy: First round wasn’t unadvertised. It was on the MN Craft Brewers Guild website and also posted about on their Facebook page and Twitter. Obviously plenty of people were well aware of it as it sold out quickly.

    The 2 sessions wasn’t ideal for plenty of reasons. One most of us don’t personally have to deal with was that it makes for a very long day for the brewery staff. Instead of getting there several hours before hand and working a 4 hour beer fest, they had an extra 5 hours added to their day with the second session (and 1 hour break in between sessions). Remember that these guys aren’t getting paid to be there.

    As others said, the 1st session didn’t sell out so obviously there wasn’t enough demand for it, so why keep it? Seems the demand is somewhere between the 3000 tickets they’re selling this year and the 4000 available last year. If I was running the event, I’d rather have too much demand vs too little. You aren’t always going to make everyone happy.

  15. David Berg says:

    Thank you Ben. People seem to forget about us lowly brewery workers and the time we put in.

  16. Andy says:

    Ben, called it an unadvertised sale. That was their term for it. I see that blurb isn’t on the website any longer, but I digress.

    The main point is that they were on the right track of growing this event last year. Every year it’s been too crowded – albeit I don’t mind that (and to be fair every year they’ve made improvements; be it moving things around, more food, more beers, another session added, etc). The morning session didn’t sell out last year because it was in the morning. Shocker. The late session sold out 1) because it was in the afternoon and 2) because they sell such a limited amount of tickets it’s not exactly hard to sell that out. A lot of people like good beer and festival-type atmosphere. No surprise there either. Venue is just too small.

    So, the venue is too small and yet they continue to keep selling such a limited amount of tickets and go back to a one session review. Omar writes in last year’s program about the overall goal being to expand the culture to new folks and get more people involved. That’s a fantastic goal. It’s great for everyone. Great for the breweries, great for the drinkers. Not exactly a goal they’re staying true to.

    I don’t know what to say about the workers having a long day at the ABR. It’s not ideal, but breweries want to showcase their beers. If they can’t get a bigger venue, then I guess that was how they decided to rectify the situation of having a big demand of customers. Two sessions and hence one long day for the workers. Blame the guild for poor planning on that front – don’t try to use that to justify selling less tickets! This event needs grow already. It’s been stunted for years now. They could reach so many more people. There is no reason not to do that. The only thing better than great beer is sharing great beer with others.

  17. Ben says:

    They may have said it was unadverised but it was listed plainly on their website. Had it been unadvertised, it wouldn’t have sold out so quickly or at all.

    I guess I’d disagree. Previous years I never found it to be overcrowded. If you want to see an overcrowded, oversold festival, checkout the City Pages Beer Fest. Expanding the festival to more folks and getting more involved doesn’t mean expanding the number of people that get to attend. Maybe it means that some people that went the last several years don’t get to go this year and in their place some new craft brew drinkers get to check it out. I don’t think this venue is too small by any means. It comfortably holds 3000 people. That’s a lot of beer drinkers.

    You say they could reach so many more people yet as last year showed us, there weren’t enough to fill the morning session. Seems they did hit a bit of a limit with how many could be reached at least on that particular day.

    What I saw last year being at both sessions is that the first session was much more mellow while the afternoon session had a lot more people that were there to pound what they could. The second session was much more rowdy. As others described it, first session was the craft beer connoisseurs while the afternoon was filled with much more amateur hour drinkers. I’m not saying that there weren’t plenty of good beer folks in the second session, just that the general crowd was much more energized and seemed to be pounding back the beer quicker.

    The only complaint I ever hear about ABR and Winterfest is from those that didn’t get a ticket. I never hear complaints about the lines. About the food. About being too crowded. That’s awesome. If that’s the only issue, I think they’re doing it right. Change things to keep people from complaining about not getting in and suddenly people will be complaining about the lines, the bathrooms, the overcrowding, etc.

    I think the Guild and their volunteers do an awesome job.

  18. Trav says:

    Long days suck, but it would seem to come w/ the territory, especially if you’re in the brewing biz. That shouldnt weigh into the reasoning behind the festival set up. If brewers think its too long of a day, the options are: deal w/ it and grind out the long day, get some more volunteers and set up shifts, or not go.

    Staffing your booth w/ volunteers probably isnt ideal, as I like talking to the brewer/owners as much as the next guy. Its tough to yak it up at fests anyway, as you need to get the hell out of the way once you have your pour.

    Ill have to make a point to go to the Duluth one next year, tickets were a bit more available for that. Of course next year could be a hugely different story.

  19. Andy says:

    I think the goal stated in last year’s program clearly means getting more people to attend when you add a second session, Ben. Read what he wrote. The goal was in reference to keeping up with demand. Higher demand noticed, so they added a session.

    It does comfortably hold 3,000. I agree. The point is that the demand is well over 3,000 now. That’s why they added a second session last year. Now, they’re back down to one session. Therefore, 3,000 less people to attend this year. And my argument is that it’s really more than 3,000 because they don’t move the venue to a bigger location.

    I consider myself a connoisseur yet I had zero interest in a morning session. If they had a afternoon session and late afternoon/night session I am sure both would sell out. Who cares what type of drinkers show up to either session? Doesn’t matter at all.

    If they do such a great job (which I agree they do) then it shouldn’t be any different at a larger venue with more tickets sold. I don’t see why it would be any different. Not changing things because you think people will start complaining is ridiculous. Surly isn’t standing still because they feel enough people aren’t complaining about their beer and why change a good thing they have going. They’re building a massive brewery to keep up with demand.

    Wish I could understand your arguments…

  20. Andy says:

    Agree with your comments, Trav.

  21. Ben says:

    As I said earlier, the brewers don’t get paid for this. They also give their beer away for free (they could be making a nice chunk of money by selling it to a bar instead, especially the bigger brews many people expect to see at these events).

    Also remember that this costs a lot of money out of pocket for distributors. A brewery like Summit or Surly may only be out the profit they could have made from the kegs they donate but the distributor represented breweries (which make up at least 1/2 of those represented at the fest) have to spend their own money on these events. From what friends that work for the distributors have said, they have to goto their bosses who give them a budget on what they can spend per brewery and how many breweries they can represent there. They spend thousands. Expanding to a larger fest means you need more distributor represented breweries there or else you’re going to have longer lines for everyone. Problem is, they’re not going to be able to get more money to bring more beer from more breweries.

    From what I’ve been told, breweries and distributors see no real return from attending beer fests (it’s a great tool for new and lesser know breweries to get their names out there but it’s not like someone goes to one of these events, has never heard of Summit and starts buying their stuff like crazy in quantity large enough to offset the breweries cost of attending). The sales do not increase after the fests (yes there other intangible benefits like getting to meet the people that love your product but that doesn’t pay the bills). So this is all money they’re spending on something that they get no real sales value out of. How would it go over if you talked to your boss and said “I need a several thousands of dollars to give our product away and we’ll get nothing in return.” I can’t imagine they’d be all for giving you even more money the next time around either.

    Volunteers for the multiple sessions was mentioned. I agree that they’re generally not that great. Most of the time they can’t even accurately describe the beers they’re serving much less answer any questions one might have about the brewery or where the beer is available. More volunteers also means more work for those involved, be it breweries or distributors.

    Larger fest means more food options, more space, more bathrooms, etc. That all means higher ticket prices for all of us. Also means that those arranging the event have to put more work into the event. This isn’t the fest organizer’s full-time job but the amount of work that goes into it sure is.

    I’d bet that had you gotten tickets, you never would complain that the number of tickets should be increased. As I said earlier, the only people I’ve ever heard complain about anything at ABR or Winterfest has been those that didn’t get tickets.

    Where would you suggest the event be moved to? Something this large needs a large area. This time of year it’s very hard to get into most venues as most are booked for other events. Most other sites are going to cost more as they are more popular than the ABR site that doesn’t see much use. That again translates to higher ticket prices. People already bitch and cry about the price of Winterfest tickets.

  22. Duke says:

    If the businesses involved in ABR see virtually no return on their investment why do they attend?

  23. Andy says:

    Ben, I don’t even know what to say all that dude. You’re pretty misguided and some of your arguments clearly haven’t been thought through. If you really think that is how companies run a business you’re mistaken.

  24. DanK says:

    “From what I’ve been told, breweries and distributors see no real return from attending beer fests (it’s a great tool for new and lesser know breweries to get their names out there but it’s not like someone goes to one of these events, has never heard of Summit and starts buying their stuff like crazy in quantity large enough to offset the breweries cost of attending).”

    That’s not true at all. I’m not sure how the guild operates, but a lot of these breweries are paid for their beer at festivals. They’re usually given amount that covers a large portion of the beer that they serve. In most cases, they’ll bring more than that so they don’t run out. It gives them a negative image when they run out, not the folks running the festival. And from a marketing stand point, getting physical exposure to your product, and not in the form of print or digital media but by actually having them sample it, is very lucrative. You also get the people who have never heard of 80% of these breweries. And if they have, it was through Kare 11. So getting them to try it with out them spending $10 on a 6 or 4 pack of something they may regret buying is a win/win if they like it. They’ll then go and buy that product, possibly give one to a friend and the beat goes on.

    As far as ticket sales go, there really is no good solution. Look at any major sporting event. When the demand is there, people buy them up and sell them for profit. It’s Merica after all. Selling an ABR ticket for $200 on Craigslist 10 minutes after they went on sale is a bit insulting to me personally, but if the demand is there, then so be it. It’s how the market works. It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Dealers mark up and cut crack like crazy, but I don’t see anybody complaining about that! Oh wait, this isn’t

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