by Alice Levitt
Desperate to join the pack for an orgy of brewed goodness? You're probably not alone. The Vermont Brewers Festival sold out just 34 hours after tickets went on sale back in May. But if you're willing to shell out, scalpers are finding ways to help beer geeks soak in the suds. But watch out — some are selling bogus tickets.
A quick Craigslist search turns up a slew of tickets, with price tags of as much as $85 per person. This may seem like a steal to some — one person posted an ad saying they were willing to pay $100 for a ticket. But for those who scooped up legit tickets from the festival, that's a $55 markup. And the tickets might not even be real.
Festival director Laura Streets says that she sweeps Craigslist every few days for these postings, but as the event has become more popular over the years, the scalping has become more difficult to control. "Last year, a gentleman was selling fake tickets on Craigslist (right)," says Streets. "it’s kind of sad that people actually bought these tickets — they were so poorly done. It was like, 'Really, you guys thought we'd do this?'"
Streets says that concerned citizens have been calling her in the last few months to rat out scalpers whose tickets they've seen online. "People who couldn't get tickets are really angry that people are doing this," says Streets.
This year, customers were limited to four tickets apiece to prevent scalpers from buying in bulk. However, Streets says she's always open to suggestions from the public on how to prevent people from profiting from the relatively low ticket price of the event.
One oft-repeated idea that she thinks is unlikely to take shape is adding another day of the Brewers Festival. She says brewers are exhausted at the end of the event as it is, and the whole point of the benefit for the Vermont Brewers Association is for everyone involved to have fun. The moral of the story: Buy your tickets early.