Last year we saw an unprecedented interest in SIPtemberfest as tickets sold out in minutes, our wait list tipped the scales at over 300 names and our inbox was flooded with emails from a lot of bummed out people. Since then, our Libra-dominated brain trust has spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to keep that from happening again and make as many people as possible happy.
First we played with the natural idea of adding a second session, or growing SIPtemberfest somehow. We devised multiple scenarios and had long conversations with brewers, the Mad River Glen staff, long time attendees, local business owners and more. But after hashing through all their feedback, we quickly discovered that all potential scenarios would completely change the complexion of our event and basically dilute it from a fine barrel-aged craft beer to warm malt beverage. So after lots of debate, we felt we had to scrap the idea of making SIPtemberfest bigger and turn our focus elsewhere.
That left us reexamining our ticket sales plan. We turned to all the emails and Facebook posts we received to find out if we could see the forest for the trees. Assorted social-media-rage aside, the most commonly echoed sentiment from last years barrage of online feedback was that we didn’t sell tickets locally – just online, (for which we had our reasons.) The next most popular critique was that tickets sold out too quickly, (over which at the time we had no control.) But unlike the question of how to grow the fest, when we addressed these issues we quickly came up with solutions that didn’t water down our event.
This is what we’ve come up with for the 2015 SIPtemberfest:
- The Saturday Beer Tasting portion of SIPtemberfest will take place September 26, 1-5pm.
- There will be ONE session.
- NEW! There will be a maximum ticket purchase of 2/person for Saturday’s Beer Tasting.
- NEW! We are going to sell said tickets in the following fashions:
- Pop Ups! There will be at least one pop-up ticket sale at which people can directly buy up to 2 tickets to Saturday’s Beer tasting. We will sell up to 300 tickets in this fashion. These will be CASH ONLY SALES! We will post the date(s) on our blog along with an approximate location, (like a town,) and a broad timeframe, (kind of like when the cable company says they’ll arrive sometime between 8-12.) This is to prevent ‘liner-uppers.” Then all you have to do is hang out at a good watering hole in the area and wait for us to tweet the deets. Pop Up sales will all happen somewhere in Central Vermont. Most likely in July, and most likely on a weekday afternoon/evening. For example, we might post that we’ll be in Whoville on Thursday, July 16 sometime after 4pm. So you pull into the Whoville Pub & Brewery for a pint. Then you’ll see our tweet exclaiming “We’re at the Whoville Rec Center parking lot selling 150 SIP tix starting at 5:15pm! Go!” As we said, we will do this at least once – but more specific details will be announced in a future post so stay tuned.
- Online! We will sell up to 350 tickets online, July 27 at 7am. (We’ve already talked to our friends at Eventbrite about making sure 7am means 7am.) These will be first come, first served, and we expect these to sell out the fastest.
- Online Lottery! The last 50 tickets will go into a lottery. We will have Open Registration for 48 hours during which time anyone can register for a chance to by up to 2 tickets to Saturday’s Beer tasting. Duplicate names will be removed – bad beer karma goes to anyone who wastes our time and registers more than once! Similarly, at least one name on the tickets purchased by selected registrants must match the name used for registration (so if your mom registers and is selected, you can’t take both her tickets.) Once registration is closed we will randomly select 25 registrants. Everyone will receive an email either way, with instructions for how to proceed. Registration will happen after online sales are over. We will announce more specific timing in a future post.
- Sales for tickets to the Friday Meet the Brewers Dinner are not affected by these changes. They will only be available online, July 27 at 7am until they sell out.
We know we can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggshells and we understand that some of you may still miss out on tickets. But in an effort to please as many people as possible without changing the heart and soul of our event, we feel that the adjustments we’re making will at least provide more opportunities for more people to get tickets without too much extra leg work for anyone.
As we’ve stated, a lot of specifics will be announced in future posts so please refrain from asking us where & whens and instead make sure you’re signed up for Fresh SIPs and stay tuned!!
Thanks and cheers!