Sunday, March 9, 2014

Too many people and not enough beer cause chaos at Cigar City Hunahpu's release

The oversold event turned chaotic after long lines and not enough beer.

Posted By on Sun, Mar 9, 2014 at 12:08 PM

click to enlarge TOM SCHERBERGER
  • Tom Scherberger



The Cigar City Brewing Hunahpu's beer release is known for being the most highly attended and highly anticipated event of Tampa Bay Beer Week. But when beer lovers lined up for the $20 bottle on Saturday, they were greeted with a two-hour wait to get in and upwards of another two hours in line for beer, before Cigar City completely ran out of Hunahpu.

The door on the event space slammed shut and the cops showed up to control the crowd, who were outside chanting “Cigar City Sucks, Cigar City Sucks.”

"We're completely sorry for all issues that happened today," Cigar City posted on their Facebook page later. "It really sucked. We completely understand how much it sucked and hate how much it sucked. We don't want it to suck ever again. We will do what we can to make it right."

Hunahpu’s Day turned out to be the worst day ever for Cigar City Brewing. Below is a video from the event.

The 3,500 attendance limit that was supposed to bring order to the chaos of last year’s annual release of Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout didn’t work.

Hundreds have taken to Cigar City's page to express their frustrations with the debacle.

"I not only feel like I wasted $50 on your event, but airfare and hotel," one commenter wrote. "Thx for the three hour line to get in and the two hour line to get three beers. You have no idea what a disaster you created."

That $50 admission included the opportunity to purchase up to three bottles of Hunahpu for $20 apiece, plus get the chance to sample some of the best beers from around the country. One of the longest lines of the day — a 20-minute or two-beer wait — was for Toppling Goliath, a small, highly regarded Iowa brewery making its Florida debut.

Some attendees did not have a negative experience. Many of Cigar City's most loyal fans defended CCB in posts on Facebook saying they had a great time despite crowded conditions.

Duplicate tickets were said to be partly to blame. Whatever happened, Cigar City was apologizing by day’s end and trying to make amends, starting with free beer Sunday at the tap room and continuing with a pledge of full refunds for all.

"As we figure out how to make up for the nightmare that happened today, we'd like to start with this mea culpa: all draft beer in the tasting room today [Sunday Mar. 9]  will be FREE," Cigar City announced on Facebook. "We will not charge a dime for any beers served in the tasting room tomorrow. We are going to try and tap all of the remaining kegs leftover from today, too."

Cigar City is providing full refunds for the debacle. Tickets purchased via EventBrite.com will be automatically refunded. Tickets paid for by cash or credit can be obtained by emailing refund@cigarcitybrewing.com.

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