News & Updates

Winterfest Sold Out… In Less than a Minute!


Ticket Sell Out Update – 12/01/10

Winterfest 2011 sold out in less than a minute – that means there were far more than 700 people online waiting to buy tickets at the instant they went on sale. A large number of you got a screen that indicated that there was a heavy load – while technically true, our ticketing partner has informed us that this was not a sign of error and people were queued up in order. The first 700 people to get in were successful (we are talking a matter of seconds or milliseconds) and if a person dropped out of the pending sale the next person in line was able to get in on the sale. This has become a natural lottery system of sorts and in order to keep Winterfest intimate and accessible, the MN Craft Brewer’s Guild does not want to increase attendance levels to meet current demand for our festival.

We apologize if there was any perception of unfairness or technical error, the system did function correctly and we are excited by the level of enthusiasm our state has for our Craft Breweries and Brew Pubs.


  1. brian says:

    This is so retarded. It is actually impossible to get tickets. Get a new system.

  2. MenschMaschine says:

    Well, strictly speaking that doesn’t mean there were more than 700 people online waiting to buy tickets… given the 6 ticket limit, and assuming an average of 4 tickets purchased per order, it means there were at least 175 enthusiastic shoppers.

    I’m curious to hear a follow up on Nate’s comment (in a previous post) about whether or not there was truly an ordered queue used. If it was just a facade that wrapped a timed refresh, I think there is some valid criticism that should be considered about the ticket vending process.

    Aside from that (and the fact that I believe the limit of tickets should be reduced from 6 to 2), I want to express my gratitude that this event is put on. I don’t believe they should increase the number of tickets nor change the venue… it’s pretty much perfect as is… looking forward to the event in February!

  3. ryan says:

    I think the issue is that we’re looking at a small amount of tickets, a huge increase in craft beer fans in Minnesota and of course the usual opportunists & scalpers. Short of a lottery system or waiting in lines somewhere, somehow, I don’t know how else you pull this off.

  4. Mag says:

    I think stupid-human tricks, feats of strength and spoken word contests should be the basis for a competition-based award system. And this should be repeated after the fest as well, if it isn’t already. Or better yet, we should see if Oprah is willing to give away Wfest tix during one of her shows.

  5. Dave MN says:

    With such a limited number of tickets, there should be no way that someone can buy six in one transaction. If I were the organizers, I’d consider MenschMaschine’s suggestion in these comments to reduce the number of tickets someone can order to 2. You’ll be dealing with fewer pissed off people in the end that way.

  6. charlie says:

    Three of us from way up north, around Bemidji, bought tickets for us and our fellow brewers. Luckily we all got in, so as is unusual, you will see some people that are not from the Twin Cities at the event. We appreciate being on even footing for the opportunity. Thanks Craft Brewing Guild.

  7. Jason says:

    Mag, that may be the best comeback I’ve seen in a long time.

    And limiting the number of tickets to two per person is overkill. Sure drop it from six to four, but not two per buyer.

  8. Crafty says:

    There’s a new craft beer event called the St. Cloud Craft Beer Expo if you didn’t get your Winterfest tickets. Not the same event but will have more craft brands of beer than Winterfest. I didn’t get Winterfest tickets so I’m doing this.

  9. Mike says:

    Crafty: are you Mark or Juno? 🙂

  10. Doug says:

    I doubt there’s any statistics on this, but I’d be curious to know how many tickets would have been sold yesterday if not for the limit of 700. How many people were in the queue but still got the sold out message? How many people went online just after noon but didn’t even get in the queue and got the sold out message right away?

  11. Andy s says:

    Great question Doug……and I dont think its overkill to limit it to 2 tickets….It makes the most sense to me. If you can buy 4 you are selling 2, take it a step further after you buy your tickets you can pick them up the day of the event with your ID so you cant scalp them

  12. Duke says:

    Andy s, I like the way you think. 2 ticket limit and only available to pick up the day of. A little bitter, got blanked for the second year in a row. Not sure why I thought my luck would be any better this year or why I even bothered.

  13. Matt says:

    You can still go if you don’t get tickets on the site, you just have to pay a little extra for them on Craigslist. I paid $125 a ticket which sucks, but it is still worth the experience.

  14. Duke says:

    $50.00 (plus whatever graft, er fees the ticket vendor adds on) is all I think the experience is worth.

  15. Tucker says:

    I think limiting it to two or four is a great idea. Even if you want to bring a spouse and say another couple there is very little need for more than four tickets. I did end up getting my two tickets and without going into detail their system was flawed, it didn’t sell out in five minutes either.

  16. 125 dollars a ticket? I saw that. I didn’t think anyone would buy it, at least not that fast. WTF?

  17. Duke says:

    Had to laugh a bit, went on Craiglist and saw a post from a person that said, have four extra tickets, best offer gets them. Hey, I just happen to have four extras the day after they went on sale, what a joke.

  18. MenschMaschine says:

    Allowing the purchase of multiple tickets makes sense when you are dealing with a reserved seating event. If I wanted to see a show with a bunch of friends, I’d definitely want to be able to pick up more then 2 tickets. But this event is GA… my friends can pick up their tickets themselves (or ask a friend who isn’t going to purchase them on their behalf), and we can still hang out together.

    Now while I didn’t do this, it *did* cross my mind that I could probably buy 4 – 6 tickets and make enough on the resale of the extra 2 – 4 to cover my own ticket costs (and then some). So the current limit of 6 makes scalping a reasonable incentive to even non-professional “ticket resellers.”

    2 is plenty. I bet that would meet most of the demand of most of those who take the time to set a calendar reminder and go for the tickets right at noon.

  19. Ben says:

    In the past, I’ve bought extras for a number of friends that aren’t able to be online to buy the tickets when they go on sale. Not everyone works online or can put off meetings, etc to be online at noon when they go on sale. For those friends that I’ve gotten tickets for, I’m sure they appreciate the 6 ticket limit.

  20. Andy s says:

    Yeah Duke same here, got tickets the first year because people didnt realize the money you could make off the event…havent gotten tickets since and see tons for sale at a price thats not worthy off the event.

  21. Karl says:

    Absolutely go to a 2-ticket limit, have all tickets at will-call and require photo ID to pick them up. If you want to go bad enough, you’ll find a way to be at a computer when they go on sale–or find a non-beer-drinker to get them for you. That’s how the smart musicians have beat the motherfucking scalpers. Already there are scalpers on Craigslist who just happen to already have four extra tickets.

  22. Karl says:

    Oh, and if y’all want to have some fun, arrange to meet these scalpers somewhere to “buy” their scalped tickets, and then just conveniently forget to show up.

  23. MenschMaschine says:

    @Ben, the question becomes: do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks that come with permitting a 6 ticket limit? How many people are actually buying 6 tickets for their friends compared to how many are buying the same amount of tickets as an opportunity to make a profit? After seeing the ads on Craigslist year after year, my guess is that people like you are in the minority… that there are far fewer people buying up to 6 tickets for their friends compared to those who want to scalp. Also, while I understand that not everyone is able to get online or to a telephone due to work/scheduling conflicts (though I tend to agree with Karl)… it’s not too hard to find another friend who *can* pick up the tickets on their behalf. If I couldn’t do it, I’d call a friend who wasn’t interested in the event or couldn’t attend, give them some money in advance, and have them order the tickets for me.

    Again, my position here isn’t “sour grapes” – I was able to buy tickets to Winterfest for the last 2 years, and have my set for 2011. I just think there are plenty of beer enthusiasts who are being unnecessarily shut out… partially by demand, but mainly by a vending process that could be easily remedied. Sure, even with a 2 ticket, will-call restriction, the even will still sell-out, and not everyone who wants to attend will be able to. However, this will allow *more* craft beer fans to attend who are unable to shell out the $$$ for the scalpers’ mark-up.

  24. Ben says:

    Even if you totally remove scalpers, which account for a very small minority of the 700 total tickets, you’re still going to have people locked out every year and those people will still complain as if they more right to the tickets than those that got them.

    While the idea of having people purchase tickets and have to show up in person to get them is interesting, I don’t think it’d work well. How much extra work would it create for the organizers and how long would we have to wait in line to get our names checked? Then everyone in your party would have to be there at the same time which can be an issue for many. Additionally can the Brewers Guild even get a name of ticket buyers from the ticket seller or is there a privacy issue there?

    @MenschMaschine, I don’t think you can say that the people that buy 6 for themselves and friends are in a small minority to those that buy 6 to sell online. Overall we see very few ads on craigslist and eBay for them. I’m not sure a couple bad apples should have to ruin it for the majority that buy for their friends and themselves. The idea of inconveniencing friends or family who aren’t attending by asking them to pickup tickets for you when you could just have a friend that’s already buying tickets grab you some sucks.

  25. MenschMaschine says:

    @Ben – I guess we’d need to see some actual statistics on ticket sales. For now, all of us commenting are speculating on the ticket distribution… until that info is made public, my bias remains that a 2 ticket maximum will create a more “fair” distribution.

  26. Tucker says:

    @Karl I like your idea, or at least out them online… Ok maybe that is childish but I hate scalpers.

  27. Duke says:

    Ben, I dont know man, I guess I find it kind of shitty that someone who wants a ticket and takes time out of their day to buy one cant, but some other person who didnt even put forth any effort does get a ticket. Of course, Im one of the poor suckers who didnt get a ticket for the second year in a row, so I guess my opinion is a little biased, haha.

  28. Ben says:

    So because you have a job where you can take the time out of your day to buy tickets, you’re more deserving than the doctor that is in surgery at noon? I don’t think you can say anyone is more deserving than anyone else.

    As I said before, no matter what is done, there will always be those that are upset with the way things are done. Changing how they’re done won’t change that. Drop it to 2 tickets per person and it’s still going to sell out. People can still order several times with different browsers or cards.

    Regardless of anything done in how the tickets are sold, the fact remains that there are more people that want to attend the event than there are tickets available. Until that’s changed (and I hope it’s not, the intimate atmosphere is great), there will always be those that get to go and those that don’t and always be those that are upset.

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