Houston Beer Festival Finds Itself in a Sticky Situation

Categories: Booze

Party Foul.jpg
This weekend is the Houston Beer Festival, an event from the same organizers as last year's Houston Wine Festival, and it's not without its share of controversy.

Organizer Timothy Hudson came under fire earlier this week when it was noted by local Twitter bloodhound Kyle Nielsen that the beer festival's charity -- the Houston Wine Fest Young Leader Scholarship -- was not yet an approved 501(c)(3) charity according to the IRS.

I spoke with Hudson on Wednesday afternoon, who explained that while the charity has not yet been approved by the IRS, all of the paperwork has been submitted and a letter from the tax agency allowed him to represent the Houston Wine Fest Young Leader Scholarship as a charity while his application was in the process of being approved.

"The whole goal of the scholarship is to help provide Houston students with full tuition; I know that's a dream right now," said Hudson on the phone. "I wish the IRS would move faster."

An attorney knowledgeable in such matters verified Hudson's claim, but noted that it wasn't entirely above board to collect money for a charity that doesn't yet exist, nor represent it as a non-profit, IRS-approved charity either.

In response, Hudson said: "When the Houston Wine Fest [website] goes live at the end of June, all of the information will be up and available for those who want to apply for the scholarship. I don't know why people would think we're trying to scam them; that's not what we're trying to do."

Another sticky situation that Nielsen pointed out, however, was the selling of $130 VIP tickets that promised all-you-can-drink beer during the festival. TABC regional supervisor Vanessa Mayo verified in an email that these tickets were in violation of TABC administrative rule §45.103.

The next day, those same VIP tickets were removed the Houston Beer Festival's website, although Hudson had claimed on the phone that the tickets weren't for full drinks; rather they were good for unlimited "2-ounce samples." It was uncertain, however, whether the tickets were removed because of a TABC violation or simply because the festival ran out of the limited supply. We have a call in to Hudson and will update you if he calls us back.

Will you still be attending the Houston Beer Festival? If so, you'll have an afternoon of flip-cup and beer pong tournaments to look forward to.



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13 comments
MayorHutto
MayorHutto

I just happened to get there a little after the opening and all was good. I had a great time and enjoyed as many of the beers a s I could handle. I'm really sorry for the people who could not get in or had to wait so long but sometimes it pays to be early. This just happened to be one of them.

Tsj_justus
Tsj_justus

What about the folks who attempted to go on Saturday?

Bryan C Coward
Bryan C Coward

I just want to thank Kyle for the extra marketing. We obviously didnt need it though :). I've never heard of Kyle before this so I suppose he is just trying to get his name out there, so we support him fully in however he wants to accomplish this. You do you.

The scholarship will provide kids that normally cant afford to go to college with a full ride. And everything will be on the http://www.houstonwinefest.com website when it goes live.

Thanks for doing the fact checking Katharine. TABC law does not allow unlimited amounts of alcohol to be served. We had to change the way VIP worked after talking to Vanessa, this was our fault for not going over everything we were doing with TABC in earlier meetings.

We thank everyone that came out. We apologize to those who didnt get in or had any bad experiences. Believe me we know how you feel. We would react the same way. To those of you that didnt get in, shoot us an email @ info@houstonbeerfestival.com. We are a young company that moves/learns fast and will make next years event run without a hitch.

Bav350z
Bav350z

 Kyle Nielsen is a freaking moron, just another reporter trying to make big as a reporter. Nice try chump

Info
Info

We're giving away free beer brownies to help ease the pain and show everyone how sorry we are for being associated with such an awful event. Just head to our Facebook page and tell us how much the event sucked to enter!www.facebook.com/happierdesser...

Sal
Sal

I hope you plan on writing a follow up to this.  I unfortunetly wasted my time/money at this event.  How did something so poorly planed manage to get a permit?  Not only did they not honor the groupon purchases but they ran out of water, beer, staffed 3 people to manage the groupon will call, had crooks selling cases of beer for $50 to people willing to pay (completly ignoring those with drink tix) and worst of all sold beer to under age kids.  WHY would you make a BEER Festival a 18 and up event?

DanTinnerlooooper
DanTinnerlooooper

Twitter Kyle Nielsen is always stirring the pot and trying to "call people out."One of his tweets a while back said  councilwoman Sue Lovell's son was smoking pot on his break at El Real. He is WAY to into his twitter feed and attempting to "root" out who he deems the bad guys, and sounds like to him that's crackers with more than 2 pennies to rub together. hahaaha! Oh brother, I'm sure he go at this comment, too. Maybe even a RT!!!

SirRon
SirRon

I need some money for my beer fund. I plan to use it to drink you under the board.

Chris
Chris

Is this sort of like the human fund?

Ohrly
Ohrly

People love to hate... they could have had the festival for profit, and the same # of people would probably go... really, it's kinda nice they're trying to raise money for a charity, not just themselves. 

And tattling to the TABC?  Really?

CommonSense
CommonSense

I agree, Sal. The event was a total clusterf*ck. They need to have efficient entry lines that moves people quickly, have a limit on the number of tickets sold, have brewers come better prepared, expecting to have even larger numbers than originally planned. Other ideas: larger venue, move to the fall or spring.

Kylejack
Kylejack

Oh my, not marijuana!  Anyway, I was obviously joking.

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