First the easy ones:
Find a larger venue – Seems obvious and I am sure it’s on the top of the BA’s list
Find out ways to cram more breweries in the Convention Center – Again, from what I hear that is being looked at as well.
Eliminate Ticketmaster – They suck and they proved it again this year.
And now for something completely different:
1. Raise ticket prices – Fermentedly Challenged a blogger in Denver suggested keeping GABF ticket prices low but still giving people more than an hour to get one, which to me seems blatantly contradictory. I know GABF tickets are exorbitant, but let’s face it if you want to weed out people just looking to get drunk with all you can consume beer offerings they might eventually do some simple math and figure out they can head off to a happy hour at Buffalo Wild Wings and down a few pitchers of Bud and save a lot of money. Beer snobs that often seem the minority at some GABF sessions will pay more to get in, after all some are spending hundreds if not thousands traveling from all over the country to be there.
2. Consolidate large brewing groups – This is something others have also suggested and it has merit, although I bet the large companies get the treatment they do because of what they contribute to the BA’s coffers. Why not ask large chains like Rock Bottom and Port Brewing to consolidate into a large booth space and bring only their top offerings?
3. Allow AHA members to only buy one ticket per member number – I am not in favor of simply eliminating AHA pre-buys as it’s a perk of membership, but every year members buy more than they need and end up selling them off.
4. Add another session – This might help with some overflow and open up attendance somewhat but it isn’t a solution to the growth of brewers wanting to participate
5. Allocate brewery participation to individual sessions – It seems very unlikely the BA will find a bigger space and they might be able to get some additional nooks and crannies at the Convention Center to stuff new breweries in, but ultimately it won’t be enough. How about setting aside Thursday for breweries that opened in the current year and/or those with production under a certain limit, like 3,000 bbls? Then make the other breweries choose one of the other sessions. Yes, logistics would need a major revamp to accomplish this, but it certainly seems like possible a solution. If people knew what breweries were serving when they could also prepare beforehand and buy tickets for sessions they are most interested in.
*As a final solution perhaps someone should start a NGABF (Not GABF) similar to NSXSW (Not South by Southwest) and invite all of the breweries that were locked out to another event somewhere nearby around the same time.