Austin Beer Fest Turns Into Houston Beer Fest Disaster, Redux

Categories: Brew Blog, News

Beerfest_logo.jpg
The Austin Beer Fest left a bitter taste in attendees' mouths.
This past June, the inaugural Houston Beer Fest at Hermann Square Park outsold the space by 8,000 tickets, infuriating attendees. But that was just the first of many problems for the event.

Lines to get in stretched for blocks as many guests suffered heat exhaustion. Lines inside the event were equally long, and the festival quickly ran out of both beer and water. Its organizers were initially unresponsive to requests for explanations or refunds, but quick to remove complaints from their Facebook page, prompting angry guests to set up a Facebook page of their own: I Hate Houston Beer Fest.

Over the weekend, some of the same organizers responsible for Houston Beer Fest created a nearly identical fiasco in Austin at the Travis County Expo Center. Within hours of the Austin Beer Fest, attendees were writing vicious reviews of the festival on Twitter, Yelp and the festival's Facebook page. Wrote one festival attendee on Yelp:

1. Ticket prices were high, and you only got 6 2oz tasters with a ticket
2. Parking was $10, which combined with the ticket prices felt like gouging
3. The line to actually park a car was about 30 minutes
4. The line to enter the Fest once we parked was about 20 minutes
5. The event was listed as an "International" Beer Fest, but I did not see many of the beers actually out. The few ones from other countries were a couple of bottles sitting out in the sun.
6. Once the event got crowded, lines to get a 2oz taster were over 20min
7. During the event, trucks were unloading beer bottles/cans in the middle of the lines of people. I was honked at several times to move out of the way for a truck that was clearly in the middle of where people were supposed to line up for the beer tents
8. Tickets for more tasters/one full beer were $7, which once again felt like gouging

Houston-based Brent Villareal with Llama Productions LLC was one of the organizers involved in the Houston Beer Fest, and was also responsible for the Austin Beer Fest. Initially, the Austin Beer Fest organizers sought to distance themselves from the Houston Beer Festival fiasco, but Eater Austin called them on this and got Villareal to admit his involvement with both. His partner in the Houston Beer Fest, Timothy Hudson, was not involved in the Austin festival, however.

On the Austin Beer Fest's Facebook page, the organizers appear to have taken a similar tactic against bad PR as they did last June; many angry comments from festival-goers have since been deleted, although a large handful still remains.

"This was a ridiculous waste of my time and money," wrote attendee Kelly Verdin. "Poor organization, pay to park, tiny samples, long lines, misleading information... I want my time and money back!"

Until this afternoon, the organizers appeared to have taken active measures to distance themselves from the event while refusing to acknowledge the situation at hand.

Meanwhile, the same Austin Beer Fest organizers saw their L.A. Beerathon cancelled over the weekend in Los Angeles after they failed to obtain any basic licenses for the festival...such as a liquor license.

"The organizers do not hold any licenses authorizing them to sell alcohol," said John Carr, a media-relations officer for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "Selling alcohol without a license is a misdemeanor in California."

The only silver lining in the Austin Beer Fest / L.A. Beerathon scandal is that the organizers appear to have learned from an earlier lesson while hosting the similarly fail-tastic Houston Wine Fest: Don't call your organization a 501(c)(3) charity when you haven't been approved by the IRS.

After days of radio silence, the organizers finally took to their Facebook page this afternoon with a long screed that blames nearly every mistake on the venue, the breweries they invited and even the guests themselves.

"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," said the long explanation. "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."



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Location Info

Map

Hermann Square Park

900 Smith Street, Houston, TX

Category: General

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85 comments
BeerDrinker
BeerDrinker

The only thing I find hard to believe in any of this is the fact that HBF won't just come out and say "Yep, it totally sucked last year."  As many others stated, it would be nice to hear some kind of ANYTHING to draw me back to this event.    HBF - I think all we really want to know is that there is better organization this year, more opportunity to enjoy different beers (personally I would like to see fewer Miller Lite Tents - - It's a Beer Festival...) and no broken promises.  I don't think it's too much to ask.

Jrflanne
Jrflanne

Went to the one last year and it really sucked. Won't be back.

I like beer.
I like beer.

I went to the Houston Beer Fest last year.It sounded like a good idea and me and a my buddy showed up expecting something like the typical festivals put on downtown. I was offered a ticket this year and declined due to these reasons:1. They oversell tickets, especially through Groupon. We got there before the gates opened and ended up standing in line for about 2 hours.People were selling spots in the groupon line as well as the other paying line. These spots and brackets were sold at scalping prices.2. Security to ensure order near the entrance was none existence, imagine typical traffic in Houston. People waiting in the hot sun for hours are getting cheated out of their spot in line by people acting like they didn't know better. This has the potential to get ugly quick.3. Pricing was asinine. Think about it. You pay 10-20 bucks for roughly 10-20 oz of beer. In the hot sun this amount of liquid be it beer or water is worthless.4. Selection. While quite a few Texas vendors were here don't expect many craft beers. Also, pretty much everything there can be found at heb. If you want something that's not swill I.e. real ale brews expect to give multiple tickets, refer to point3.5. Bands. Seeing a band of 13 yr olds is cool but don't expect a band that you know.

Overall I would recommend a pub crawl involving flying saucer or some place like that. You will get a much better selection, more organization and more value to your money.

I would love to go to a real festival one day and look forward to the other festivals that don't server things I can find at heb such as lone star and pabst

Chris
Chris

Agreed. there are many, many good beer pubs around each part of town to give up your money and time to waste in the hot sun.

J Nelson
J Nelson

I heard that the Austin Festival was also oversold by 7,000 tickets--how do you plan a beer festival and intentionally oversell twice?   I say class action law suit--they make off with all the oversold ticket money as pure profit and the buyers get "taken."  Send a clear message to have that specific kink taken out of their organized crime agenda...  

Sam G.
Sam G.

The LA Beerathon is owned by Beerathon LLC, as is the Houston Beerathon, NYC Beerathon, Boston Beerathon, etc. No one on the Houston Beer Fest staff worked on the LA Beerathon. Nor is the Houston Beerathon a Houston Beer Fest event. You can send all emails about any Beerathon to Sam@nycbeerathon.com.  It's a shame other people are getting blamed for an event they have nothing to do with.

Ben Retman
Ben Retman

Houston Beer Fest-

A lot of things don't match up here (just like last year). You claim that you don't run any other events other than Houston Beer Fest, although you run the Houston Wine Festival, an Austin brewery tour bus, the Houston Beerathon, and the LA Beerathon. You are involved with the Austin Beer Fest as well, as documented by the Eater link you keep referring to,  where Austin Beer Fest attemps to sever ties to you due to your Houston disaster last year.  

The Houston Beerathon's website has the exact language, to the letter, as the LA Beerathon. (The LA verbiage has been taken down and replaced with an apology, since the event was shut down.)

So, (a) you stole LA Beerathon's copy, or (b) you don't run Houston Beerathon, but take credit for owning it on your Beer Fest site. Don't worry about removing this from the site as usual, everyone's got screen shots of it now. 26 beers in 26 bars while running 26 miles? This has nothing to do with craft beer, and it's irresponsible and ridiculous.

Regardless of your association with these events, the most blatant issue is the Houston Beer Fest debacle last year. The problems with this festival didn't involve simple logistical mistakes. 

From running out of water, to running out of beer, to overselling your event by tens of thousands and still admitting entry, to deleting Facebook comments, to making threats on Twitter, to constantly promote getting shitfaced, this is an egregious pattern of ignorance and greed.

Remember last year when you said no media would be allowed through the door in 2012? That was an asinine thing to say, but at this point, it's just typical. Of course you don't want media there. 

There really isn't a single detail you DIDN'T screw up last year. It was a disaster of epic proportions,  which made local TV stations and national news. National news.

In this comment thread, you are now saying that you sold 15,000 tickets last year. In 2011, you bragged that you sold 25,000 tickets, although the park was only rated for 12,000.

You also said nobody could be arrested in Hermann Park due to a legal loophole, so attendees could drink to oblivion without fear of arrest. This is not what craft beer is about. 

Your one page advertisement in the nationally published Draft Magazine depicts a cartoon of a drunk female in a short skirt lying on her back with her legs in the air. This is not what craft beer is about. 

It's not about beer pong or flip cup tournaments either. 

Unfortunately, you decided to paint this picture of Houston for craft beer fans all over the US.

Hordes of misled ticketholders paid for tickets early online in order to skip the lines (including myself), but then waited for 2 1/2 hours in the brutal Houston summer heat, with no water, never even making it to the gate because the beer ran out several hours early. Houston won't forget that day, and a quick Google/Yelp search will show multiple hundreds of angry attendees, and a handful of anonymous people that enjoyed the festival. Instead of offering refunds, you asked your Facebook friends which car you should buy with your massive profits.    

You said that "a portion" of your proceeds would go to a charitable cause, though your purported charity didn't exist (which was proven). What happened with that? Did you actually give away a scholarship, or contribute to one?

In your apology to Houston last year, you said you wouldn't use Groupon again this year, yet sure enough, your tickets are now on Groupon. 

From your Facebook and Twitter accounts,it is obvious that you have zero knowledge in the craft beer field. Absolutely none. Your operation is an embarrassment to Houston, Austin, and the State of Texas. And now you want to start a Southern Beer Conference? (http://thescbc.com) It's surprising that ANY brewers or distributors agreed to work with you this year. Two Texas breweries have already made public apologies for appearing at the Austin fest. 

I do have one nice thing to say. Your new Corvette is gorgeous. Almost as fine as your friend Brent Villareal's new SGT NSX, which is posted on his Facebook page. Here's the link, http://on.fb.me/HQkhxs, but I'm sure that will soon be removed too. 

Douche on. 

I like beer
I like beer

I went to hbf and hated it. I had just started homebrewing and was hoping to get knowledge about the craft of making beer. Nope. All volunteers. Pub crawls and brewery tours are all I have faith in now.

Ben Retman
Ben Retman

Houston Beer Fest-

A lot of things don't match up here (just like last year). You claim that you don't run any other events other than Houston Beer Fest, although you run the Houston Wine Festival, an Austin brewery tour bus, the Houston Beerathon, and the LA Beerathon. You are involved with the Austin Beer Fest as well, as documented by the Eater link you keep referring to,  where Austin Beer Fest attemps to sever ties to you due to your Houston disaster last year.  

The Houston Beerathon's website has the exact language, to the letter, as the LA Beerathon. (The LA verbiage has been taken down and replaced with an apology, since the event was shut down.)

So, (a) you stole LA Beerathon's copy, or (b) you don't run Houston Beerathon, but take credit for owning it on your Beer Fest site. Don't worry about removing this from the site as usual, everyone's got screen shots of it now. 26 beers in 26 bars while running 26 miles? This has nothing to do with craft beer, and it's irresponsible and ridiculous.

Regardless of your association with these events, the most blatant issue is the Houston Beer Fest debacle last year. The problems with this festival didn't involve simple logistical mistakes. 

From running out of water, to running out of beer, to overselling your event by tens of thousands and still admitting entry, to deleting Facebook comments, to making threats on Twitter, to constantly promote getting shitfaced, this is an egregious pattern of ignorance and greed.

Remember last year when you said no media would be allowed through the door in 2012? That was an asinine thing to say, but at this point, it's just typical. Of course you don't want media there. 

There really isn't a single detail you DIDN'T screw up last year. It was a disaster of epic proportions,  which made local TV stations and national news. National news.

In this comment thread, you are now saying that you sold 15,000 tickets last year. In 2011, you bragged that you sold 25,000 tickets, although the park was only rated for 12,000.

You also said nobody could be arrested in Hermann Park due to a legal loophole, so attendees could drink to oblivion without fear of arrest. This is not what craft beer is about. 

Your one page advertisement in the nationally published Draft Magazine depicts a cartoon of a drunk female in a short skirt lying on her back with her legs in the air. This is not what craft beer is about. 

It's not about beer pong or flip cup tournaments either. 

Unfortunately, you decided to paint this picture of Houston for craft beer fans all over the US.

Hordes of misled ticketholders paid for tickets early online in order to skip the lines (including myself), but then waited for 2 1/2 hours in the brutal Houston summer heat, with no water, never even making it to the gate because the beer ran out several hours early. Houston won't forget that day, and a quick Google/Yelp search will show multiple hundreds of angry attendees, and a handful of anonymous people that enjoyed the festival. Instead of offering refunds, you asked your Facebook friends which car you should buy with your massive profits.    

You said that "a portion" of your proceeds would go to a charitable cause, though your purported charity didn't exist (which was proven). What happened with that? Did you actually give away a scholarship, or contribute to one?

In your apology to Houston last year, you said you wouldn't use Groupon again this year, yet sure enough, your tickets are now on Groupon. 

From your Facebook and Twitter accounts,it is obvious that you have zero knowledge in the craft beer field. Absolutely none. Your operation is an embarrassment to Houston, Austin, and the State of Texas. And now you want to start a Southern Beer Conference? (http://thescbc.com) It's surprising that ANY brewers or distributors agreed to work with you this year. Two Texas breweries have already made public apologies for appearing at the Austin fest. 

I do have one nice thing to say. Your new Corvette is gorgeous. Almost as fine as your friend Brent Villareal's new SGT NSX, which is posted on his Facebook page. Here's the link, http://on.fb.me/HQkhxs, but I'm sure that will soon be removed too. 

Douche on. 

takenbythieves
takenbythieves

I was not a participant in any of the Houston Beer Festivals (thank goodness for that), but I can tell you that being one of the many vendors/suppliers to the Houston Wine Festivals...These same crooks ...oh sorry..."businessman"...screwed alot of the suppliers out of money and have not paid them for their services or products supplied even up to now! Many of them are waiting to get paid...only to be given empty promises. For all of you vendors and suppliers out there who think that you are going to  make a big sale off of these events ..please "BEWARE!"...They are not honest...They are not businessman...They are not normall people who want to provide a good venue to have fun...They really don't care what happens to their reputation, what people say about the event or the crappy bands or services they provide. The organizers of these events...(you know who you are you thieving cowards!!)...are only interested in one thing..."MONEY!"...Once they get it...no matter who or what they owe...they run like cockroaches when the lighths turn on...only this tiime they have alot of money in their pockets. I urge all fellow breweries, wholesale alcohol companies and business to think about your fellow small business family owned operators when you decide to participate in these events.

Anonymous
Anonymous

As a brewery rep. Participating in this event i am absolutely disgusted by the lack of organization, lack of communication, and overall disrespect for the breweries in attendance. We were not supplied with proper draft equipment. We did not have ice or barrels until the fest started. There were also no custodians or trash bins to clean up trash. It was a Complete disaster considering most of the prep work could have been done when we arrived that morning. How can the breweries or patrons possibly be at fault?

Ben Retman
Ben Retman

Houston Beer Fest-

A lot of things don't match up here (just like last year). You claim that you don't run any other events other than Houston Beer Fest, although you run the Houston Wine Festival, an Austin brewery tour bus, the Houston Beerathon, and the LA Beerathon. You are involved with the Austin Beer Fest as well, as documented by the Eater link you keep referring to,  where Austin Beer Fest attemps to sever ties to you due to your Houston disaster last year.  

The Houston Beerathon's website has the exact language, to the letter, as the LA Beerathon. (The LA verbiage has been taken down and replaced with an apology, since the event was shut down.)

So, (a) you stole LA Beerathon's copy, or (b) you don't run Houston Beerathon, but take credit for owning it on your Beer Fest site. Don't worry about removing this from the site as usual, everyone's got screen shots of it now. 26 beers in 26 bars while running 26 miles? This has nothing to do with craft beer, and it's irresponsible and ridiculous.

Regardless of your association with these events, the most blatant issue is the Houston Beer Fest debacle last year. The problems with this festival didn't involve simple logistical mistakes. 

From running out of water, to running out of beer, to overselling your event by tens of thousands and still admitting entry, to deleting Facebook comments, to making threats on Twitter, to constantly promote getting shitfaced, this is an egregious pattern of ignorancNe and greed.

Remember last year when you said no media would be allowed through the door in 2012? That was an asinine thing to say, but at this point, it's just typical. Of course you don't want media there. 

There really isn't a single detail you DIDN'T screw up last year. It was a disaster of epic proportions,  which made local TV stations and national news. National news.

In this comment thread, you are now saying that you sold 15,000 tickets last year. In 2011, you bragged that you sold 25,000 tickets, although the park was only rated for 12,000.

You also said nobody could be arrested in Hermann Park due to a legal loophole, so attendees could drink to oblivion without fear of arrest. This is not what craft beer is about. 

Your one page advertisement in the nationally published Draft Magazine depicts a cartoon of a drunk female in a short skirt lying on her back with her legs in the air. This is not what craft beer is about. 

It's not about beer pong or flip cup tournaments either. 

Unfortunately, you decided to paint this picture of Houston for craft beer fans all over the US.

Hordes of misled ticketholders paid for tickets early online in order to skip the lines (including myself), but then waited for 2 1/2 hours in the brutal Houston summer heat, with no water, never even making it to the gate because the beer ran out several hours early. Houston won't forget that day, and a quick Google/Yelp search will show multiple hundreds of angry attendees, and a handful of anonymous people that enjoyed the festival. Instead of offering refunds, you asked your Facebook friends which car you should buy with your massive profits.    

You said that "a portion" of your proceeds would go to a charitable cause, though your purported charity didn't exist (which was proven). What happened with that? Did you actually give away a scholarship, or contribute to one?

In your apology to Houston last year, you said you wouldn't use Groupon again this year, yet sure enough, your tickets are now on Groupon. 

From your Facebook and Twitter accounts,it is obvious that you have zero knowledge in the craft beer field. Absolutely none. Your operation is an embarrassment to Houston, Austin, and the State of Texas. And now you want to start a Southern Beer Conference? (http://thescbc.com) It's surprising that ANY brewers or distributors agreed to work with you this year. Two Texas breweries have already made public apologies for appearing at the Austin fest. 

I do have one nice thing to say. Your new Corvette is gorgeous. Almost as fine as your friend Brent Villareal's new SGT NSX, which is posted on his Facebook page. Here's the link, http://on.fb.me/HQkhxs, but I'm sure that will soon be removed too. 

Douche on. 

Mark Scott
Mark Scott

At the risk of sounding ignorant... I keep seeing references to "Beer Pong" as evidence that an event is definitely a bad one.  Any explanation as to why this appears to be a common belief?  I genuinely am interested in the answer, although not from Shill Girl or Unqualified-to-Speak-About-Organizing-Events Boy.

I did see that the Beer Pong was lame -- water cups, no apparent prizes or even any attempt to "play up" the winning teams, etc.  But I can think of quite a few ways off the top of my head as to how to make it, if not the highlight of the event, at least an amusing addition to the activities list.

Patrick
Patrick

Marko, 

AustinBeerFestPatron is correct. Here's a bit of personal insight:

Organizational/logistic nightmares aside, I think the asshats responsible for this fiasco have an deep-seated concept/marketing problem. They are trying to marry a binge drinking concept with a craft beer concept. The crowds that align themselves to these two concepts are, in general, mutually exclusive:Binge drinking concept: drinking games/tournaments, promotional girls in skimpy clothes selling the product, small variety of cheap beer from companies like inbev/millercoors, DJs playing loud club music, generic food like turkey legs/nachos, lots of guys in affliction t-shirts who care too much about their cars.Craft beer concept: wide variety of hand crafted local beer/hard to find import beer available at a reasonable cost (3oz samples for $1), knowledgable passionate brewery representatives serving the beer, local artisan food, diverse people coming together to spend an afternoon listening to good/local music, while also having a conversation about beer/food/life/etc.

What we got last Saturday was the worst possible combination of the two: warm beer sold by unenthusiastic amateurs, no way to sample a wide variety without breaking the bank, loud obnoxious DJ music followed by loud shitty rock music, turkey legs/nachos, lots of guys in affliction t-shirts who care too much about their cars.

If these guys want to be successful, they need to choose a target audience and cater to that markets' needs. Judging by the event and their unprofessional/immature approach to everything they've communicated since the fiasco, I fear this feedback will fall upon deaf ears.

PLT

AustinBeerFestPatron
AustinBeerFestPatron

It's because beer pong is about chugging and the point is to get drunk, not to sample quality craft brews.  Cheap beer is almost universally used for beer pong.  The pic, caption, and incredibly bad grammar they have on their website basically says it all. http://theaustinbeerfest.com/g... 

Sam G.
Sam G.

The LA Beerathon is owned by Beerathon LLC, as is the Houston Beerathon, NYC Beerathon, Boston Beerathon, etc. No one on the Houston Beer Fest staff worked on the LA Beerathon. Nor is the Houston Beerathon a Houston Beer Fest event. You can send all emails about any Beerathon to Sam@nycbeerathon.com.

Ben Retman
Ben Retman

From houstonbeerfestival.com: "26 Beers - 26 Bars - Tons of fun! This is our version of a pub crawl, on steroids. We are currently signing up all of your favorite places to drink at."

Mattl32
Mattl32

Rhizome Productions Inc. based out of Nashville seems to host some pretty amazing events. We should see if they can host one in Austin!

BeerForChange
BeerForChange

Dude.  Texas sounds so awesome.  Anytime someone tries something new, the good old boys make sure it doesn't happen.  That's awesome.  So instead of something great you live in a state of mediocrity.  Yes, California has awesome beer festivals.  Because tomorrow is more important than yesterday.  Don't mess with Texas… they'll manage to fuck it up themselves.

Mark Scott
Mark Scott

I really shouldn't feed the Troll....

Scams and incompetently-run events happen every where, and California is no exception.  Not sure which one this qualified as, but time will tell.

We've had successful events, and plenty of them.  We will continue to have successful events.  I would not use these specific fiascoes as any evidence that Texas events are inferior or will be in the future.

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

lol... and what happened to the CA beerathon that was to take place on the 31st? Someone in CA messed it up for themselves? Right?  

But nice post, very cute. 

Kylejack
Kylejack

Looks like the Houston Wine Fest Young Leader Scholarship has removed all mention of 501c3 status from their website. http://www.houstonwinefest.com...

I checked the IRS site again, and they still do not appear to be listed as a 501c3 charity. Tim, is getting the 501c3 status still in the process, or has that been dropped? I see that winners of the scholarship will be notified on May 15th of this year by mail and e-mail. Will you also be announcing the winners of the scholarship publicly, or will that information be kept confidential?

Tim
Tim

You can even help us review all of the scholarship information and if you like, we can call the IRS together to see if our charity is a 501c3 or not... Just let me know!!!

Duce630
Duce630

 Just post the Form 990 tax return for us to view like many charities do. What is the official name of the charity?

Tim
Tim

Kyle,

You can go with me to deliver the checks. How about that? Just send me an email ;)

Marslovespluto
Marslovespluto

The fail boat continues to sail I see. The one in Houston last year was a fiasco!

Moon
Moon

Actually theHouston Press has made some gross incorrect statements.

 

1) theHouston beer fest and Austin beer fest are completely unrelated with differentpromoters. No connection between the two. I hope everyone understands that.

2) theHouston beer fest while crowded was a huge success in my mind for it first year. I had agreat time. Had plenty of beer, food and water. Yes, some booths ran out butothers were flowing strong. I was there for several hours and everyone I saw was enjoying themsleves. I imagine it is difficult to plan these things especially thefirst year out. I expect the 2nd year they will know what to expect and plan for rmore capacity.3) I did not attend the Austin beer fest but would not rely on the Houston Press for good journalism. I will forsure be attending the Houston Beer fest again. It was a great place to sample tons of great beers and have some outdoor fun. Yes there will be lines and crowds but tell me where there is a good event in Houston where there is not crowds.

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

I agree. When is there not crowds at a Houston event? Crowds are why I don't go to the rodeo to see the same thing year after year and eat the same food that's there year after year.  I still love I festival though, even though it's become pretty much the same vendors year after year with the exception of the featured country, but wow, at times so overly crowded and long lines. 

I guess I've learned from attending overcrowded festivals, don't expect to see or do it all in a short while, give yourself time.... like get their early and expect to be there all day-- and always take more cash then you expect to spend. Enjoy the moment and take everything in-- and try not to gripe about it, griping causes wrinkles. You only live once. 

Mark Scott
Mark Scott

Seriously.  It's time to stop posting, Shill.

Kylejack
Kylejack

 No, the festival was not a huge success, unless you're talking about the bottom line for the organizers. People were collapsing from heat exhaustion because it ran out of water three hours into the event. Maybe that's why they started jumping in the reflection pool in front of City Hall.

John Smith
John Smith

 See, apparently Tim is paying someone...all of his friends to post fake "support" for his failures!

Hill
Hill

Spaeth communications?

Rog
Rog

So from what I can gather from the comments is that the Houston Beer Fest is going to happen... AGAIN???? Seriously? I hope people aren't stupid enough to fall for this again.

FOOL ME ONCE.....

Ajsafado
Ajsafado

My only complaint, which is big complaint, is that they advertised on their website that you could buy 2 oz. sample cups for $2.  I was totally fine with that.  I showed up to the event and they in fact did not sell the 2 oz. sample cups at all.  You were given 6 with your cost of entry, but that was it.  After that, you were forced to buy $7 or $5 beers.  This was cleary a screw job and the event organizers had every intention of ripping off the customers.  I hope someone makes them pay.

Dissapointed
Dissapointed

I worked at the Houston Beer Festival last year and doubt I will never again in my life subject myself to the atrocity. I heard from a few that this was going on in Austin and that a few organizers were affiliated so I steered clear, and it looks like with good reason! In Houston, the event was a mess on both ends. The disorganization and chaos were truly sad, and I walked away that night bummed and hoping they wouldn't try it again. Several of my girls enjoyed working it because they got drunk on the job and conned other drunk people out of money for tips. (That is the only reason I can imagine someone would feel positively about a second annual...?) We were also told we would be paid, and that never happened even after repeated emails and posts on their fb. If you 'believe in second chances' then by all means, try to enjoy yourselves at over events put on by these organizers! I will stick with learning from mistakes...

Tim
Tim

I don't know whow you are, but if you didn't get paid then you can send us an email. To our record all employees were paid.

Dissapointed
Dissapointed

That's the problem I think. We all signed in on a notebook that had beer spilled all over it with people who had no idea what they were doing. It was a very poor record.

Tim
Tim

Like I said, you can send us an email and we will pay you. info@houstonbeerfestival.com. Thanks

WheresMyMoney
WheresMyMoney

A few of your "contractors" were not paid, Tim. How about double checking your books? I am sure a few invoices are still left open. While you travel around the country enjoying beer and the "life of a playboy"... you avoid paying people who put in hard work and helped you with your festival last year. You still owe money. No one has time to chase you down for it. Do the right thing and pay up.

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

This is really bad blogging. Seriously?? 1. No first hand experience-- the review comes from 1 yelp person? or More? Why not just post a link. 

2. Is Katharine really trying to say the Austin and LA Beerathon organizers are one in the same? Fact Check means nothing to "journalists" anymore I guess. 

3. Negative comments/complaints, many are still on Austin Beer Fest's FB page. But as I read some comments and complaints, some went beyond just "venting" and actually posted private, family information about the organizers of the event, and threatening physical harm. Some unhappy attenders used profanity to express their disappointment, which if those comments, using profanity were removed, I am glad for that.  First "complaining" using curse words, and posting publicly shows lack of etiquette I think. To keep such comments on one's blog or page would show a lack of attention to maintaining a sense of professionalism for other readers like me.   I take comments off my fb page that friends use curse words in. 4. Not everyone who attended Austin Beer Fest had a terrible time. I had a great time actually. Learned alot more about the beer available in Texas, and who the distributors are of that beer I did enjoy and taste. I didn't mind paying the $5-7 for a beer as I walked around and enjoyed many of the bands I could hear and see. The problem at the gate initially, once eradicated, people all got in. Those showing up later-- no problem... and there was still beer to be drank after 8pm. I even met fellow beer enthusiasts who were having a great time. The 20 minute wait to get a beer, I never experienced and I was there from 2:30- near closing. There were so many tents of beer that if a line was at one I moved on to try another one, maybe a lesser known one., but still great. 

Of course at my age, maybe it's that I could afford to pay for having a good time and instead of complaining, realizing what it may take to put on such an event, maybe others who were scheduled to help out and provide services fell through (as I never believe it's just one or 2 people who are to be responsible for everything), I had no reason to complain about the promoters of the event--- who are not the same people at LA Beerathon.

Next time check your facts and please avoid the pitfall of shoddy journalism, Katharine. You're article really, really sucked because of your ignorance, and lack of experience, first hand knowledge. Sadly, it's not even really second hand information as all you did was read what was on the internet and put together your article it seems. If that's all it takes to be a writer for a blog or magazine, well then a high schooler could have easily done it, I 'm sure. And a gifted high schooler could  have definitely done a better job than you, Katherine. Sad, sad, sad. 

AustinBeerFestPatron
AustinBeerFestPatron

First of all, it couldn't be more obvious that this is one of the promoters of the event or someone affiliated with the organizers.  Second of all, the vast majority of the comments on the Austin Beer Fest FB page did not include cursing or threats of any kind.  I should know...I had my comments deleted, and two of my husband's were deleted.  We were interested in what developed, so we kept up with the page, and the comments were simply people expressing their disappointment, frustration, and justifiable anger for what was probably the worst Austin event in the past decade.  It's an outright lie to claim that the only comments removed were ones that had profanity or threats.

Also, claiming that you had a great time at Beer Fest is fine, but it must be acknowledged that hundreds (or more) people did NOT have a great time.  These are the same Austinities who enthusiastically attend other festivals and events without any fallout even close to this level.  My husband and I are beer enthusiasts, homebrewers, and festival-goers and trust me, if there was any fun to be had at this event, we would have found it.  We arrived at 4:30 and waited in the shortest lines possible - and the absolute shortest wait time we had was 10 minutes for a warm, foamy 1 oz sample of beer.  Everyone working the event was rude to us, including the people serving the beer.  At one tent, when my husband asked for information on what they had to sample, the girl pointed to the (warm) bottles on the table and said, "This is it."  We managed to find a couple of beers we had never seen before, but again, they were from warm bottles.  Point is - the experience to try and get a sample of beer was a bad one, and there was no way to get it without waiting.  While I was at Beer Fest, I overheard nothing but complaining from fellow patrons about the lack of organization, the wait, the traffic, the parking, the sad excuse for a VIP tent, the terrible venue, the food, and the sample sizes.  Nobody WANTS to complain at a festival - a lot of people I overheard were genuinely surprised at how bad this event was.

I find it funny that this poster would flaunt his station in life as a reason why the prices were acceptable.  In Austin, most events are expensive, and people have no problem going when the pricing structure is clear and you're getting something for your money.  We called "scam" the second we realized that you HAD to plunk down a minimum of $20 for beer tickets and that the prices for beer were $5 for brews you could get at HEB, and $7 for everything else.  Do a little division there and you'll see that it was designed so that you had to spend quite a bit to get just a few beers.  That's not to mention the outrageous entrance fee, which only bought you a mug and about half a beer - it's also not to mention the fact that the pricing structure on the website lead us to believe we'd get a minimum of two full beers for our entrance fee.  I didn't even see sampling tickets for sale, only the $20 blocks of tickets for full beers.

The organizers of this event fail to realize what the term "organizer" means.  It means that you coordinate, you regulate, and you make sure that your event is going to go well.  If you know ahead of time it's going to be a cluster, and you take people's money anyway, you're a thief.  Asking people for excessive amounts of their cash for a lackluster product and THEN asking them to "realize what it takes to put on such an event" as a way of ducking responsibility is laughable.  This isn't a high school carnival where enormous mistakes are forgivable, it's an expensive city-wide event called Austin Beer Fest, so if you can't hack it and actually organize it, then just don't do it.  As the organizer, it's your job to know if you CAN'T organize it for ANY reason.  It's clear to me, as well as to many others who attended, that the primary motivation for this event was money and not promotion for craft beer, or customer satisfaction.

Lastly, if you know that your product utterly failed, and moreover, that it was doomed to fail because of "other people" you need to own up to it and give back the money you took from Beer Fest's patrons.  And please, take a class or something before ever trying to organize another event.  

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

Alcohol sales anywhere are always about making money. Most people have a bar tab of at least $30 on a given night and although free to get into places that serve alcohol, you have to endure often radio music or worse, none at all, or listen to music being played off an ipad by some drunk guy who runs around town telling everyone they are a dj. Doing the math, $25 and how many bands were at the beer fest? There was live music and they didn't sound bad. I enjoyed them-- especially the ones from Houston. I wasn't there to get drunk, so the $40 I spent on alcohol, and even bought some beers for friends, seemed quite reasonable to me. I don't go to HEB every week to buy a 6 pack of beer I haven't tried before and drink it  I do buy several 6 packs of some of my favorite beer and it usually lasts me a while even shared with friends. (My utmost favorite beer, which was abundant at beer fest as others were afraid to try it- maybe the just couldn't pronounce it-- actually isn't sold at my nearest HEB nor Specs.) So, to reiterate, I had a great time at Austin Beer Fest, despite the difficulties and problems that, yes, were noticeable to many. I didn't have a problem with any of the caterers, knowing they were just that-- people filling in likely, glad to have a job on a Saturday, despite the heat, I smiled at them and asked how they were doing. I kind of felt bad for them as often people in front of me had just been rude to them, seemingly disappointed and blamed them, the caters, for their lack of experience. Negativity gets negativity right? Anyway, maybe I enjoyed beer fest like no one else because any time I set out to enjoy time somewhere with friends I find a way to enjoy it, find the positives, and not focus so much on problems that are not mine. I am so so super happy it didn't rain all weekend in Austin, especially Saturday-- it was nice to get some sun! With that being said, a reminder of how I like to try to remain positive,  nice job on the crappy article Katharine. Glad it's your problem and not mine. Look forward to reading more inaccurate articles from you in the future. At least I know what to expect now from a once gifted high schooler-- just like many of them now likely-- just entertainment, nothing to take seriously.Obviously truth is no longer part of what it takes to be a blogger for the Houston Press. Oh, hang on, truth is never really necessary in any articles for Pres either. It seems now stretching the truth and sarcasm do seem to be part of Houston press blogs and articles, even in print. I'm not sure anymore if I'm reading the Press or The Onion sometimes anyway. Katharine, you right for The Onion now? 

John
John

Dude, seriously you come off like a sociopath.  It's down right creepy.

AustinBeerFestPatron
AustinBeerFestPatron

Well, for my bar tab of $30, I can usually pick up 5 or so quality pints of properly served, cold beer and have seating and restroom access with running water.  At Austin Beer Fest, people paid a minimum of $45 to wait in line literally the entire time they were there for 6 one ounce samples of beer, and 10 oz plastic cups of beer which were warm and badly poored.  I was there for 2.5 hours and I never heard music, other than a really bad DJ.  I'd rather hear KGSR over speakers in a bar, then techno crap.  

Oh, the irony of preaching about "negativity getting negativity" and then blasting the author of this blog in the most immature and poorly written way imaginable!  Listen dear, I don't know what festival you attended or what drugs you were smoking before you got there.  It's clearly beyond you how businesses work and how successful event organizing looks.  This event was disorganized, disrespectful to its patrons, and dishonest in its pricing policies.  All I can deduce from your post is that you are a beer novice, extremely easy to please, and maybe, you don't earn your own money, because if you did, you'd understand what customer satisfaction is all about.

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

I think it's funny how people think I am of the male species, as my co worker calls humans-- species. LOL. I'm female and had nothing to do with the organization of any beer fest other than the ones I have for myself. 

patrick
patrick

Brent, go read yelp reviews on the festival and stop trying to deflect the fact that you put on a shitty event. The people have spoken.

You're making yourself look worse than you already do.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I was once a gifted high schooler... *sigh*

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

Well, you're article full of inaccuracies, and no first hand nor second hand knowledge or resources, shows how school standards for being considered a gifted student have declined. Sad, sad, sad still, Katharine.

It's as if the "gifted" part of you learned how to just cheat and get away with things that are shoddy. That's not really gifted, that's just a cheat, and according to complainers about the beer fest, well then Katharine, due to your "cheats" in journalism, and shoddy reporting just to get a story, you are not far from being a "Scammer" just like the promoters of the beer fest have been called.

And still Katharine, you are wrong saying, "Meanwhile, the same organizers in LA Beerathon...." where is your proof that the Austin Beerfest organizers are the same as the LA Beerathon organizers?  

Inaccuracy in reporting? Are you trying to scam readers Katharine?   Gifted? If gifted means scamming and lying to people without their realizing. This article is written more like it is a scam, by someone who likes to cheat, not someone who is truly gifted. Good journalists and bloggers do not need to scam their readers if really all they want to do is report the facts. Katharine you wanted attention and that is all. And you have it....  via bad writing. Good job, you are now more like the people you report about than you think. 

Scam journalist, is how I see it...hhmmm... scamming, cheating...  remind you of anyone else possibly? 

Gohava
Gohava

Go have a lemonparty with the other old men

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

I write without editing, a common person who was not gifted in high school. A blogger should know better. They have an editor. I suppose I could go back and edit my comment and re-post instead of just writing and not re-reading. lol

Or Dustin, just go ahead, since you are the grammar police, please feel free to edit my comment to make it valid to you and others. Comments and opinions about something, whether they are verbally stated using proper grammar or not, are valid. Unless you are a school bully and like to discredit anyone's opinion that you disagree with or think is beneath you.  Which makes you then sound like a..... 

Complainer of Bad Blogging
Complainer of Bad Blogging

If a blogger can not use proper sources, what does grammar matter?  I feel like if you're are going to complain about someone's grammar on the internet, you are a troll. 

Dustin Kalman
Dustin Kalman

 I feel like if you're going to complain about someone's bad blogging then you should be able to use proper grammar. Until then, your opinion of how a blog should be written is meaningless.

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