Cigar City Brewing in Tampa has released some preliminary details about the fifth annual Hunahpu’s Day taking place March 8, 2014.
As in years past, it will be at the brewery, but there will be some major changes. The biggest is that it will be a ticketed event, rather than the previous years when attendees had to buy individual tickets or tokens to exchange for beers. Sales will be limited to 3,500 (the past two years, the crowd numbered more than 5,000). The tickets will be $50, which will include unlimited tastings and a Hunahpu’s Day sampling glass.
Here are other new developments:
- The tasting room will be open, but separate from the festival. No samples will be served, but pints and snifters will be sold.
- Parking will be available as usual at the old Sears & Roebuck building across the street from the brewery, but other local businesses will open their lots for a fee.
- The festival will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In previous years, the gates opened as early as 7 a.m. or so, which resulted in an early-morning line stretching blocks from the brewery.
- Members of the El Catador Club, a membership-only group started by the brewery this past summer, will have first crack at the tickets before the rest are released to the public.
- Bottles of Hunahpu’s, the highly coveted imperial stout released once a year by Cigar City, will be sold throughout the day. Details on availability and price will be released later, though the cost has remained at $20 per bottle since the beginning.
Having attended the three previous Hunahpu’s Day releases, I think these are mostly all good moves. The crowd and lines have been getting worse each year, despite efforts by owner Joey Redner and the rest of the staff to alleviate them. The change to a beer festival-type atmosphere, rather than buying individual beers, should move things along much more quickly.
Though no one asked, I know that Joey reads this blog once in a while, so here’s a couple of things I’d like to see.
- If there’s any way to prevent scalping of tickets, make it so. Get the beer to those who want it and who have supported the brewery over the years.
- More portable toilets! Last year, the lines were insane, and the toilets themselves were near the brim relatively early in the day.
- Keep the price at $20 per bottle.
This will be the third year that Hunahpu’s Day will be the signature closing event for Tampa Bay Beer Week, and I’m looking forward to it.