My take on Hunahpu’s Day and the business approach of CCB:
Things did not go smoothly for the brewery’s first attempt at running Hunahpu’s Day as a beer festival. The event ended up with over double the ticketed number of people. The beer however, was world class; A-game brews from some of the legends of the industry.
To those who believe CCB is a greedy corporation who flooded their own event:
Cigar City was caught in a tough position with ticket reading issues and false claims over who had rights to tickets. Here’s the thing; if you tried to make people happy every single step of the way and that makes you greedy, then I’m going to need to fix my definition. The central issue revolves around the choice to let people in despite finding duplicate tickets. This would have never happened if the ticketing situation wasn’t taken advantage of, and if everyone didn’t provide some variation of a sob story about being swindled. This was the defining moment and a lose/lose situation for the brewery. Damned if they turn people away because CCB was so mean and damned because they didn’t and the event overfilled. It is because of these shady people bottles sold out early. For the brewery there was no advantage to overfilling the event, what was to be gained? If it had been just the promised 3,500 attendees, those bottles which were reserved for the event, would sell out anyway without the extra people that scammed their way in, they have every year. There was no shady illuminati plan to admit everyone and break the promised bottle allotment.
While people should not have been able to pick up cases before 4pm, it happened. What happened after was SHAMEFUL; the reactions of attendees forced the breweries hands to clear the lot. Empty bottles were being thrown and some people behaved like animals. But to sell the day to our fellow beer enthusiasts as a complete disaster is a bit much. Five and a half hours of drinking samples and bottle sharing some of the whales of craft beer, while crowded and a bit hot, came before the breakdown of the crowd.
There are those who would claim the brewery to have orchestrated the event for some sort of nefarious plan to crush the souls of the Hunahopeful. How can you say that though when you see the lengths Joey Redner has gone to make it up to the loyal customers who purchased tickets for themselves? Consolatory moves began with the announcing that a free beer day would follow Hunahpu’s Day, mere hours after the closing down of the event. This resulted, that Sunday, in giving out over $10,000 dollars of beer. Soon after it was decided to just take the hit of over $200,000 in losses through the reimbursement of tickets and keg purchases from some of the world’s best beers from all over the country. All the way to promising an additional batch for those who didn’t get to purchase their beer; I must say that Cigar City Brewing more than made it up.
They have given us our money back (or are in the process of doing so), so if you didn’t get enough samples then you were compensated.
They gave you free beer the next day just to make sure you came for something (as long as you were still in the area).
They promised a new batch to those who retained their silver bracelet, even if you were one of the assholes who took advantage of volunteers and good will.
To top it off they even canceled further Hunahpu’s days due to the overwhelming hatefulness of bridge burners.
Joey Redner, who I have never met, has gone beyond anything any company I have ever dealt with in my everyday life would EVER, ever do, just to make up for the madness that was only partially Cigar City Brewing’s fault. What company would do this for their customers? If you had a bad time and do not feel like this was adequate than I’m sorry. Lose sleep over bigger issues because THIS is world class customer service.
To those who have social anxiety and were emotionally overwhelmed:
I respect your devotion to good craft beer and I believe that Cigar City does as well. I hope that the event wasn’t too overwhelming and I respect your courage to put up with the crowds you expected and beyond.
To those who waited in line for hours to get in, I did too:
A professional might have better ideas of how to fix this but I was in line with some of the best people in the world, Passionate ones. People who love good beer and people who know that if you like something; you love it, learn it, and dedicate some part of yourself to experiencing more.
To those that think this somehow lowers the quality of Cigar City’s beers or puts them on the same level as those who manufacture those commercial beers we see all over bars and tv’s nationwide:
This year’s Hunahpu was by far the best batch and while the events that unfolded were unfortunate and the lines could have been more strictly enforced (I’d have been pissed to have been funneled into bank teller lines); it is clear that they are only increasing in skill and quality.
I will be sad to see the loss of Hunahpu’s day. I hope that Cigar City can move past the trauma as I hope we all can (to those who were traumatized). I believe, with all my taste buds, that this year was to be the birth of something glorious. It succeeded in terms of Tap. This was a mind-blowing buildup of 5 years’ worth of networking and collaborating. In terms of experience I had an amazing time, it was crowded as hell but I expected it to be. I’m sorry if you don’t feel like Cigar City has made it up to you but they have more than made it up to me. I know that my LOCAL breweries have got my back and my friend’s backs. They know when things could have been better and they have enough respect to admit it. In another day or so I’ll write up about my experiences at Hunahpu’s day, once the blood is out the water.