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Winter Beer Festival Tickets

As you may have already heard, tickets for the 2012 Winter Beer Festival are selling at a RECORD PACE! After only 36 hours we have already sold 1500 tickets online, which is creating some challenges for alloting tickets to member breweries and other outlets. Most places that sold tickets last year will get tickets again this year…but in most cases, considerably fewer tickets. The outlets should have tickets to sell by early next week, but we have no idea how fast the online tickets will continue to sell. There are only 6,000 to sell TOTAL – so 25% of them are already sold! If we sell 6,000 tickets online by next Monday we will NOT be selling any tickets at the outlets. We STRONGLY SUGGEST purchasing tickets online to guarantee getting a ticket.

Once we have a list of which breweries and stores have tickets, it will be posted here.



  • Roger Burns says:

    Dear MBG,
    Thank you for taking the time to address this issue. It’s been extremely frustrating for the past couple of years getting ahold of tickets. Now, it’s putting a run on the bank, so to speak because of previous difficulties. Many of us prefer to buy local, and would prefer to support our local breweries. It would be really nice if the member breweries received them first, on the day that the event opened, not sometime next week if there are any left over. It’s a popular event, but it’s not being handled very well from the standpoint of the end users and the local breweries. Even this blog which was listed as the place to find information wasn’t updated until a day after the event opened.

  • Roger,
    Thank you for your comments. We also like the option of somebody going to a local brewery to pick up tickets to our Festivals. But due to the nature of our events selling out for the past couple years (usually a week before the event), outlets that still have tickets get bombarded with people who just want to buy tickets – not sit down and buy food or beer. The breweries do not get anything from selling Festival tickets, other than the hassle of having to deal with it (and a lot of breweries choose to NOT sell them), unless the ticket buyers are buying some beers when they stop in. We will continue to manage the ticket allotments in the future in whichever way we think makes the most sense AND hopefully allows the public to buy them locally. I will say, however, that you can still go into your local brewery, buy a pint or two, and use their free Wi-Fi to buy festival tickets online… that supports them more than somebody just stopping in to pick up tickets. Just a thought!

  • J says:

    I would have to agree with Roger that I would prefer to buy my tickets from a local brewery. I was actually going to go to Founders tomorrow for lunch and a beer and get my tickets but now it looks like it can’t? I like to support my local economy and I don’t like to having to spend even more money on “service charges” by buying them online. I bought summer beer fest tickets online and not only did I get charged a service fee but also an “out-of-state contract charge”? I am also a beer enthusiast member and I think it would be a good idea to allow members to buy their tickets a day or two ahead of time as an extra perk from being a member (especially if tickets are going to sell out more quickly each year). Getting into the festivals an hour early is the biggest reason why me and my husband are members.

  • Sorry I deleted someone’s comment that said, “Well said Eric.” before I posted it… Didn’t meant to do that!

    I would not be opposed to a “pre-sale” of some kind for Enthusiast Members that can be bought at breweries prior to on-line sales, but there is no way we can make those tickets available to every area of the state. Should the Enthusiast Members who live in Ypsilanti benefit from this option because Corner Brewery gets to sell tickets but the Enthusiast Members who live in Alpena have to drive 2 hours to the nearest ticket outlet to do so? It would easy to offer a pre-sale online with a special “code”, but that doesn’t eliminate the service charges that come with ANY online purchase. Like I said, we will work on the best possible solution that allows the Guild’s events to grow efficiently while still allowing some of the things we have been able to offer as a small organization. Thank you in advance for your patience with us!

  • David says:

    So what about the list of the outlets that ARE selling tickets? It is NOW early next week, what are the numbers available? I would rather cross the border for a beer and a ticket than risk spilling it on my laptop while I order tickets!

  • Unidimple says:

    I picked up tickets locally last night; they did not receive any driver tickets but said they can be purchased at the event. Are driver tickets guaranteed to be available at the door? PS – I disdain paying service fees.

    Consider a policy that you can get tickets at breweries WITH A PURCHASE. This tilts the scales to the regulars who deserve some priority over the unwashed masses.

  • A list of ticket outlets has been posted. Designated Driver tickets will be available at the entry gate.

    We are not interested in requiring a “purchase” in order to buy tickets to our events at an outlet. We already struggle with locations that require somebody to buy a bus package, especially if those end up being the last tickets available. The Guild will continue to manage ticket availability for each of our Festivals…ideally having the outlets AND online tickets sell out as close to the same time as possible.

  • Jon Piepenbrok says:

    Just a few words to clarify a few points brought up.
    1. Ticket outlets do not get a cut of sales. As Eric mentioned it is sometimes more of a hassle for the establishment then anything.
    2. None of us like service fees, but managing tickets is expensive, time-consuming and subject to potential error unless handled by the professionals. The service fee is how the ticket mgmt company makes their money.
    3. Attaching additional purchase requirements in order to buy alcohol, or requiring the purchase of alcohol in order to make another purchase or get a discount is against the law, and also not very nice.
    That’s why you do not need a costco membership in order to buy booze…

  • Lauretta Simpson says:

    I am bummed. I live in Grand Rapids and now I can’t get tickets for me or my family?!! I was watching this site in Oct. saw no date of event or release orticket release date for Winterfest. I did not see a Nov. posting and don’t see it in the archives. I work in the educational system and was working 60 hours/week from Thanksgiving to yesterday. I look today and I am out of luck.

    After reading comments here I have an idea. I agree that perhaps the breweries that don’t want to offer to the general public because of the extra work–understood & greatly appreciated. How about a compromise (this is a suggestion to the breweries of course, nothing the guild can control) offer so many tickets available to mug club members? (I am pretty sure they all have a mug club.)

    Disappointed in GR

  • Lauretta,
    I am sorry you didn’t get an opportunity to get tickets before they were sold out. Although there wasn’t a post on the MASH about ticket sales, our website homepage and our Facebook page have been announcing the ticket release date of December 1st for the whole month of November. We are planning to auction off tickets at a Grand Rapids area bar the Thursdsay before the Festival…details to be announced in February. There also seem to always be tickets being sold by people prior to the event. Some people post here, and some post on the Craft Beer in Michigan Yahoo group. And in regards to your suggestion for breweries to offer them to Mug Club members first – that is completely up to the brewery. But I do know that Schmohz Brewery in Grand Rapids did just that.


  • Adam says:

    Greetings everyone, I have found it difficult to get tickets that are not attached to a bus trip unless the local establishment has extra tickets the day of. Does anyone have 4 extra tickets that need to be purchased? I know things come up after someone orders tickets and needs to get rid of them. I’d be happy to take them off your hands. Please let me know if I can help someone.

  • Brenda says:

    Hey there — hoping this comment gets to the organizers and/or assists with rallying around legal transportation options spooled up for the event. Taxis in Grand Rapids are horribly unreliable, so I am wondering if the event organizers are working with taxis, car services, and other public transportation options (are there any others??) to make sure there is a continuous stream of safe-ride options available throughout (but especially at the end) of the event. We had two separate sets of friends basically ‘get stranded’ at the event and ended up driving their cars home (bad idea!) because of being unable to secure a taxi (for almost two hours) after the event.

  • Wendy Price says:

    I purchased my tickets on-line when they went on sale. I did not print them out at that time and now am now sure what website I need to go to to do that. Can you let me know which website I need to to go to print those out? Thanks!

  • Will there be a shuttle service from various hotels and the downtown area like there has been in past years? If so where do we purchase these tickets? Thank You

  • Dave says:

    Does anyone READ any of this? Still interested in “The List” of hotels available, “The List” of beers present, and the answer to the question above….

  • Kristy says:

    @Dave- visit for more info on travel. In years past, the Holiday Inn Express (358 River Ridge Drive, Walker, MI) has offered a discount rate for BeerFest goers, with the Hopper responsible for pick-ups/drop-offs. Call GR Hopper for more concrete info 616-606-0467

    There is also a hotel across the street from 5/3 ballpark (Comfort Suites), I’m not sure what their situation is regarding rate information.

  • Jonathan says:

    if you live near Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti consider taking their beer bus, it’s a great time with coffee & bagels, along with beer on the bus. and buy tickets soon – (the following is from Corner Brewery’s facebook page)

    Corner Brewery
    Heads up Corner/Arbor fans: We have only sold a total of 12 beer bus tickets to the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest. If we do not sell 40 more tickets by February 9th, we will have to cancel the bus. So if you planned on getting tickets – call or stop in Corner or Arbor today! Tickets are $35 – For more details call Corner at 734.480.2739 or Arbor at 734.213.1393.

  • Annette May says:

    Are there any buses leaving for the fest from Metro Detroit? It appears that the Arbor Brewing Co’s bus has been cancelled due to not enough seats sold.

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