News & Updates

Winterfest Sold Out in 8 Minutes!

Less than 20 minutes after noon, Laura (Winterfest, Arborfest and Autumn Brew Review’s event guru) e-mailed me to tell me that all 700 Winterfest tickets sold out in 8 minutes. 8 minutes! Damn!

My deepest regrets to those of you who wanted tickets but weren’t able to get them. I wish you better luck next year. For those of you who received tickets, congrats! Meet me for a sample or three at the History Center in February!

And for those of you trying to turn a buck on eBay or Craigslist, King Gambrinus is frowning upon you.


  1. Champs says:

    Has anyone considered expanding this event? I’ve gotten ABR tickets maybe twice in the last five years, but not one for Winterfest because I know not to bother.

  2. Mike says:

    It was actually pretty easy to get tickets if you were on TicketWeb right at noon.

  3. Trav says:

    Pretty easy? Ya, if you werent busy doing somthing else during all of those 8 minutes. Already a few on craigslist @ 75 ea.

  4. Yandlecats says:

    Yeah, I got them pretty easily, although I had to go on at work right at noon.

  5. Ben says:

    I know plenty of people that aren’t available at noon but easily find a friend to buy them for them. It’s not all that difficult.

    I don’t want to see this event expand. Part of what makes it special is the smaller, more intimate atmosphere that it has vs large beer fests.

  6. Mensch Maschine says:

    I’ve got no complaints about the size of the event (the more people they let in , the less likely someone will be able to bring in that special low-run brew).

    But given the amount of craigslist / scalping that happens… maybe this event could be “will call” tickets only. It doesn’t prevent scalpers from going that day to pick up and distribute their tickets at the door, but I have a feeling it would reduce many (especially out of state scalpers).

    Also, I’m curious – how many tickets are sold for ABR and how fast did that sell out?

  7. Cecil says:

    We decided not to even try and buy tickets this year. We have been to Winterfest 5 different years and just thought we could let someone else have a chance.

  8. Kevin says:

    Well I couldn’t get through via phone and my wife couldn’t get through the website and she tried at noon.

  9. Tucker says:

    I tried on the phone and got through at 12:03 just as the website finally came up. I’ve never been before, made it out to the Fall Beer Review which was nice. Anyone have any info on this event, I see the breweries, a mention of appetizers and music. Any details or good experiences from the past? Surely not selling my tickets on Craigslist…


  10. BeerGuy says:

    I may have to try this next year, how much are tickets.

  11. Tucker says:

    $45.00 each plus a service fee. 2 tickets came to $101.48 with the $11.48 service fee.


  12. Mag says:

    Mensch, I tend to agree with you about the “will call.” I’d actually like to see tickets sold through a few more channels to give more folks a chance to buy them. Not everyone can be at a ‘puter or phone from 11:59:59 through 12:04:00 to buy tickets. I kind of like how Great Taste of the Midwest has some tickets available at local outlets and sells a boat-load via lottery.

    Tucker, the event has generally been very, very crowded. Last year the food was wiped out pretty early on, so don’t count on it. The venue isn’t the best for an event like this as you have mobs of people crammed into relatively tight hallways. That having been said, the beer is generally fantastic and a real treat.

    I’ve gone, with one exception, every year for the last six, I think, and have typically had a very good time, but I’ve always had to give it a lot of thought in recent years because I don’t enjoy the crowded venues.

  13. mnbeerdrinker says:

    I did not get tickets this year, apparently a victim of my browser cache. By the time I finally got to the checkout screen, (12:05 by my clock) it was sold out. I would echo the idea of making a portion of the tickets available by some means other than the web site. I would also be in favor of dropping the limit per purchase from six to four or maybe even two tickets. With only 700 tickets (and I’m guessing some of those get held back for VIPs, Guild and brewer friends, etc.) it only takes 116 or less purchases to sell all the tickets.

    As far as the venue goes, I have been to Winterfest at the Summit Ave mansion, Landmark Center, and the History Center. All were overcrowded madhouses, but you put up with it because the beer is fantastic. Twice we brought friends who said they would never go again because of the crowds.

    The best fest venue I have been to recently was the MN Zoo, for Brew at the Zoo. There was plenty of space to walk around, and the amount of tickets sold was well under the capacity of the area. Unfortunately, I suppose since it was a new fest, many of the breweries sent the “B” team, and there were few, if any, special releases or unusual variations. Maybe next year it will be better in that regard. The venue is superb.

  14. Champs says:

    The ABR ticketing website collapsed when sales opened as well. I’m on a college campus data circuit, but all the early-access tickets were gone by the time I even got the stupid page to load.

  15. Champs says:

    The ABR ticketing website collapsed when sales opened as well. I’m on a college campus data circuit, but all the early-access tickets were gone by the time I even got the stupid page to load.

    And… y’know… there are two days in the weekend. I see an easy way of doubling the event size.

  16. FlatEarth says:

    The first few Winterfest held at Great Waters took months to sell out. As we have changed venues we have added more tickets and they have sold quicker. The first 3 were about 100 tickets, then 200, 250, 400, 500, 700 and now 700 again. The Guild decided that selling at multiple venues was more of a headache for us so we stopped doing it. It was initially designed as a big beer, intimate affair. Personally I’d like to see it rolled back to 200 patrons.
    No tickets get held back for Guild members & friends; they are all sold to the public. If a Guild member wants more tickets they pay for them.
    As far as expanding to 2 days, MNCBG members are not compensated for the beverages served at the festival. In a lot of ways we are preaching to the crowd. The majority of people attending will not be new customers to MN breweries. Most breweries present typically go through a couple of kegs of beer at this event that could have been sold to the public. I think you will find it harder to get breweries to financially afford to give away 3-8 kegs worth of beer over a weekend.
    Just my .02.

  17. Champs says:

    To Jeff:

    Having planned a wedding myself, I am quite aware that revenues of $31k for that number of guests (700 x $45) don’t leave much left over.

    If there is no profit to be made, the crowd is already perceived to be too large, and access to tickets can’t be any more equitable (you didn’t say members have to stand in line like the rest of us), then just maybe the event should be closed to the public and remade into the intimate event you’d like.

  18. Mag says:

    lol, Jeff, your comment about a rollback to 200 patrons made me think of the Family Guy episode where Pawtucket Brewery hid golden tickets in their beer (kinda like Willy Wonka). Now that’d be an interesting version of Winterfest, especially if you could scare up some Oompa-Loompas.

  19. Jason says:

    Or, in the case of the Pawtucket Brewery, Chumba-Wumbas.

    I think I watch too much Adult Swim

  20. Mag says:

    ahh, thanks for the correction. i couldn’t remember what the green little fellows were called

  21. Karl Bremer says:

    I was out of the country sampling the fine Pinot Noirs and beers of New Zealand when tickets went on sale, and my ticket-buyer wasn’t quick enough on the trigger. Any extras, even a single, at cost would be appreciated. Reach me at saintcroix-at-aol-dot-com.

Comments are closed.