Our minds are blown.

Below is a Facebook apology from the organizers of the disastrous Austin Beer Fest at Travis County Expo Center.

We’ve never seen or heard of such duplicity in our life. It’s shameful. If these people ever show their face in Austin again we’re afraid we’ll have but one option: GET THE ROPE.

We’re not on Facebook so we would like to thank the person who pasted this and emailed it to us. Prepare to be shocked.

“What is this beer?”

“What do you mean?”

“This beer, I’ve never heard of any of it.”

“It’s all craft beer, and it’s kind of the point of the festival.”

“Well, I don’t sell that.”

“That’s what we need though, that’s what the people will be coming for.”

“Hmmm…I don’t know.”

Our mission was to hold a beer festival that focused on exposing craft beer to a large audience, and to give that audience quality entertainment while they learned about new beer.

The breweries would not be charged to attend, and all they would need to do is bring a tent and send a representative to answer questions to the guests.

To bring that many beers to one location was going to take a massive effort, and would require all breweries, distributors, planners, and the city, to work together and cooperate for the greater good.

To watch as arrogance, unprofessionalism, and unavoidable modifications made by others, slowly chew away at the most crucial of details in the idea is a feeling that is truly heart-shattering.

Most importantly it is with great disappointment we begin our apology, explain what went wrong and why, and the changes that will be made when we, like so many now successful festivals, pick ourselves up, and try again.

The first time I set foot in Austin, Texas I fell in love with its beauty.

Years later, after I became of legal drinking age and found my way to craft beer, I was shown a new side of Austin, and met people who knew how important it was to drink good, quality beer, and the brilliant minds who found the perfect combination of biology, chemistry, and a gourmet touch to produce amazing beers.

We wanted the guests to try as many of those beers as possible, and not just from Austin but from the entire world, so that everyone could share in the experience of craft beer. This idea was presented and thought to be understood by all involved, and perhaps it was, we may never know.

“Now, what’s with this sample thing?”
“People need to be able to sample the beer that way they know if they want a full pour, it’s the whole point of having all these beers.”
“Well I’m not paying for that, you should pay for that.”
“But…you’re the one selling the beer.”

Beer Issues:
We, The Austin Beer Fest, did not sell the beer at the event, we couldn’t. A year ago, when we sought our venue, only one was available, and that venue had an exclusive contract with a business that had the license for the food and alcohol, and had legal claim to sell all food and drink, and collect all sales at that venue. This meant we would have to contact all the breweries and distributors and front a massive coordination effort, select which beer should be picked, and the business that had the license would buy it, sell it, and give us a share of zero percent.

We were fine with the idea, as long as we could have hundreds of beers available, and people could experience these beers, we would do whatever it required to make a good impression with our guests. We knew that if we could please our guests, we could move closer to the center of the city, and truly perfect our vision.

As of March 30th 2012, we had confirmed and published a list of 562 beers with an accompanying map, but by 2pm the next day, we learned that no-shows and edits to our beer selection without our knowledge decreased that number to below 300. We truly apologize for this, many changes were kept from us, because it was assumed that since a previous archery festival was unsuccessful at the venue, a craft beer festival in one of the biggest craft beer cities in the world would not attract guests either.

If any logic can be salvaged from that assumption it must be small and damaged. When setting up it was apparent that despite our multiple attempts to inform the business that had the license that we are expecting a very large group of guests, we were ignored, craft beer was deliberately underestimated, all due to ego and pride.

By cutting our beers, they cut off the breweries by second stage from the rest of the festival. This action left the breweries no choice but to move closer to main stage, so they would not be forgotten.

But the bands that had a stage built for them on the grass had all of the surrounding food and beer abandon them, and they were left to play for no one. A limb was severed from the festival without our knowledge, and to the performers who played on though you were isolated from the activity you have our deepest respect and apologies.

Equipment & Supply Issues:

March 28th – we order extra equipment since we had local breweries who wanted to participate on short notice and we would do anything to keep them from being excluded.

March 31st – We’re looking for the equipment on site. No one can find it.

April 2nd – FedEx informs us our equipment is in Tennessee. It was supposed to be an overnight delivery.

To the breweries that did arrive at the festival, you have our thanks, and our absolute most sincere apologies for any troubles you may have experienced.

Unfortunately, due to the laws imposed by the TABC, it was illegal for any of you to bring equipment to dispense beer from your kegs, and the business that had the license did not have, and refused to purchase, drafting equipment to tap all of the confirmed kegs.

A compromise was made, to have some beers changed from draft to package, and we (The Austin Beer Fest) would purchase all of the drafting equipment needed, the business that had the license would get their beer sales, and we would make everyone happy.

By the day of, we were short equipment. The lack of equipment was embarrassing, and we are sorry we failed you. We were told by business that had the license there would be a freight truck full of ice, and there was, but not until 4:30.

For those of you who had to wait and risked spoiling your beer, we are very sorry, we know how sensitive beer is to temperature, and we apologize for any stress or delay caused by that incompetence. Also, it was disheartening to hear about brewery reps illegally pouring and giving away beer that was not theirs to give, getting drunk, and/or being ejected by security.

Your brands deserve better than that from their representatives, and we hope it didn’t cause damage to your brand in front of guests.

Food Issues:

“We want there to be food at the event, can we bring any outside vendors to sell food we want there?”

“No, you can’t do that. We’ve got all kinds of food.”

“Well, this is a little different from the carnival food for the rodeo, because people are going to want beer foods that go with the beer, especially for VIP. You can bring out some good quality, right?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

Of course we were worried about it, and with good reason.

We expected hot pretzels, bratwurst loaded with sauerkraut, crawfish, tacos, kabobs, and barbeque.

But our emphasis was ignored, and we were presented with a shadow of what we pictured, with a presentation that looked more abandoned than festive.

This was absolutely unacceptable, and we apologize for the disappointment we are sure was shared by all. To accompany this “good food”, was the business that had the license’s “TABC certified” staff, who knew nothing about how to physically pour a beer, and positioned seemingly disoriented and unkempt employees stationed in the most crucial of areas.

The business that had the license decided on the day of that they did not want to pay for the already confirmed beer when it was delivered, which caused trucks to sit in the middle of the festival, instead of off-site as implied by pre-approved and discussed map design.

To have a professional business perform in such a ridiculously poor fashion is inexcusable, disrespectful to the guests, and we apologize sincerely.

A parking catastrophe occurred when an unknown guest was spotted by parking staff cutting the chain off of one of our gates, allowing a flood of cars to follow him in thinking it was an official entrance and create hours of back-up and traffic congestion in our lot, and the surrounding streets.

It took several hours to resolve, and we apologize for any inconvenience or confusion caused by this inconsiderate action. The parking staff tried their best to resolve the situation, though people were speeding by them, with several incidents of parking staff almost being struck by vehicles, only to be turned around by the officers waiting by that gate.

Please stop and listen to staff when at any event, endangering people’s lives to save driving time is counter-productive.

The bottom line is simple, this was our event, and in the end, we were responsible for the outcome.

As of April 1st we have contacted our attorney with the problems we were forced into by mandatory affiliates, and have begun legal action against the proper parties. All proceeds from this legal action will be used to throw another festival at a different venue, with free admission, and a healthy compliment of craft beer for the people who wish to attend and accept our apologies for an event that turned out nothing like we planned.

That said, only half of our drafting equipment was recovered, which is unfortunate as it was provided to breweries to use for the festival, not to keep, we’re sorry if we failed to explain that. If you would be kind as to return it to us, we will be glad to take it back, no questions asked, so that we may have many draft selections available in the future.

Besides the proceed funded event, we would like to try again with several major changes that we will implement for our future events, such as a change to a non-contracted venue that will allow full control over beer selection, quality, and presentation, with no worry of having the rug pulled out from under us. If you had a chance to enjoy the entertainment, we believe you would agree that when given control of an element, like we had with the stages and music, we can produce quality.

All we ask is that we are granted a second chance next year, as all of the breweries, bands, and The Austin Beer Fest staff brought their best, but when red tape and exclusivity grants the rights for outside forces to make changes, we all suffer.

We apologize for the delayed response, we had much to mend and discuss. Any accusations of deliberately avoiding the issue or any negative feedback is false, we have removed nothing from our media, we have nothing to hide, violence and vulgar negativity are contagious, and irrational.

We needed to re-group and get the facts before making a post based off emotion. In order to do so, we needed to disable comments in order to give us time to respond.

Please write info@theaustinbeerfest.com if you have constructive criticism or issues.

This is now a legal matter, and we are dealing with it accordingly, and due to this we can’t go into complete detail on every part of the event. We do not expect people to understand our frustration and how upset we are that this happened, but know we are taking a proper course of action.

Thank you for your time.

With absolute and sincerest apologies,
The Austin Beer Fest

Wow. Just wow. We are agog at this “apology”. There’s only one thing left to do. GET THE ROPE.

previous Austin Beer Fest coverage link

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