Five Tips To Score 2015 GABF Tickets
The upcoming 2015 Great American Beer Festival promises to be bigger than ever. A predicted 60,000 craft beer fans will swarm to Denver this September to sample 3,500+ beers from 800+ breweries. Will you be one of them? GABF is more than two months away, but the notoriously narrow window of ticket availability is rapidly approaching. We want to see you there, so please follow our guide to increase your chances of scoring tickets to the country’s biggest and baddest beer fest.
First, let’s cover some basics.
The festival runs Thursday, September 24th through Saturday, September 26th and consists of four tasting sessions:
- Thursday, September 24th, 5:30 pm – 10 pm
- Friday, September 25th, 5:30 pm – 10 pm
- Saturday, September 26th, 12:00 pm – 4 pm (Members Only!)
- Saturday, September 26th, 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Evening sessions are available to the general public at a cost of $80, but tickets for the $65 Saturday afternoon session are only available to members of the Brewers Association or American Homebrewers Association. Sales begin July 28th for BA and AHA members and July 29th for everyone else. If you’d like to be a designated driver, $25 will buy you snacks, unlimited sodas, and the undying gratitude of your friends. Ticketing will be handled by nobody’s favorite vendor, Ticketmaster, which brings us to my first piece of advice.
1. Get Your House in Order
Create or update your Ticketmaster.com profile right now. Make sure your address and payment information are completely correct. If past years are any sign of things to come, the site will be crushed the morning tickets become available, and you don’t want to miss your spot in line because your purchase fails at the very last moment.
2. Rally the Troops
Coordinate with your friends to determine which sessions you’d like to attend together so whomever wins the Ticketmaster queue lottery can purchase tickets for the whole gang. Be aware of the per-session purchase limits and plan accordingly. This may sound crazy, and perhaps it is, but consider the idea of being on a Google hangout or conference call together during the buying process.
3. Join Up
Consider joining the American Homebrewers Association. If you’re a homebrewer, this should be an easy decision given all the excellent resources they provide, but membership also entitles you to many discounts and early access to events including GABF. Members who join by midnight, July 19th can beat the rush by buying tickets a full day before the general public. Tickets for evening sessions are discounted from $80 to $75, and you’ll be able to purchase passes to the relaxed, members-only afternoon session which has become my favorite.
4. Stalk Those Tickets
While the festival added additional space to the tasting floor to support about 22% more attendees this year, chances are still good that tickets will sell out the first day. I suggest getting your computer in order then camping out at the Ticketmaster page at least 10-15 minutes before the sale begins, reserving another 15-20 minutes the purchasing process. You don’t want to be struggling with a coffee shop’s choppy WiFi or installing updates when go time comes. Visit the Ticketmaster event page and be ready to refresh your browser window the second tickets become available: July 29th at 10 am MT or July 28th at 10 am MT for BA/AHA members.
5. Have a Backup Plan
If evil forces conspire to rob you of your rightly deserved GABF tickets, don’t despair. While tickets will undoubtedly appear on scalper sites at grossly inflated prices within minutes of the sale, you’re also likely to find more reasonably priced tickets being sold by people who are not greedy and hateful monsters on Denver Craiglist as the fest approaches. If it comes down to scalping tickets in person, remember that tickets depreciate rapidly as soon as the doors open.