Brewgaloo is the largest craft beer festival in North Carolina and the second largest craft beer festival in the United States. The event brings in over 30,000 attendees and features over 100 North Carolina breweries, as well as food trucks, vendors, and live bands playing across multiple stages. In order to make the festival open to visitors of all ages, access to the entertainment, food trucks, and vendors are free, and beer sampling is available for purchase using paper tickets.
When Brewgaloo began seven years ago, Jennifer Martin, one of the event’s founders, knew they would need a ticketing system that differed from the typical “all-you-can-drink” model of most beer festivals. The Brewgaloo model allows fans to purchase a package of tickets and then choose whether to redeem two tickets for a 3-ounce pour, or five tickets for a full pint.
Jennifer Martin and her team wanted to use a ticketing system that was simple to use for both her event volunteers and fans, in addition to providing on-site ticket redemption, client support, and detailed reporting. Brewgaloo is hosted by the non-profit association “Shop Local Raleigh,” so Martin and her team hoped to partner with a local ticketing company.
As an outdoor event staged in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, Brewgaloo also required a temporary, dedicated Internet connection that could be easily implemented to streamline the high volume of tickets that would be redeemed.
Etix worked with the Brewgaloo team to support advanced sales for the event, including testing multiple offers to establish the ideal price point to drive more purchases. Etix also provided dedicated equipment and worked with Brewgaloo’s IT team to ensure their Internet was robust enough for the highly attended event. On-site support staff trained volunteers to sell and scan tickets, and were able to handle any purchase issues like double charges or refunds.
Brewgaloo separates onsite purchases from will-call redemption. As the onsite purchase line grew, Etix client representative Jeff Woronka used a feature in the Etix system to generate a QR code that could be used for mobile purchases. Fans could buy ticket packages using their smartphones and immediately jump into the shorter will-call lines.
Fans noticed how much faster the will-call lines moved (vs. walkup ticketing), which significantly shortened the wait time to enter the venue. Fans found it easy to buy on the spot; there were twice as many mobile purchases than on desktop, and Martin noted that for the first time in Brewgaloo’s history, online purchases (pre-sale and day of) exceeded onsite box office sales. Additionally, with the training provided by Etix’s onsite team, volunteers were up and running in under five minutes, allowing for quick scanning and entry into the tasting area.
Martin was also thrilled with the ease of reporting and reconciliation. “North Carolina law stipulates that we have to pay our vendors the day of an event, and if we don’t have ticket money in hand, that’s really tough for a non-profit. With Etix, the Tuesday morning after Brewgaloo there’s a check in our mailbox—no sweat!”
Brewgaloo’s high volume of attendees also creates a large database, which was previously a headache for Martin and her team to manage. Martin says, “Etix makes it easy to use our database to let fans know when it’s time to check in, and also gives us great information on who our fans are so we can market to them for next year’s festival.”
Martin also enjoys the convenience and flexibility of Etix’s duplicate performance function, and commented, “We’ve already started working on 2019 Brewgaloo. The Etix platform enabled us to easily duplicate [the] event and quickly get it online: Fans can already buy tickets now.”