Hell no, we will go! People weren’t chanting outside as they lined up to attend the 3rd Annual Jolly Skull Beer Fest. Perhaps it had something to do with the coldest weather streak we have had in a long time in Eastern North Carolina. It was amazing to see the thousands of festival goers who braved the ice storm the night before and stood in freezing weather the day of.
There was a lot of concern in the Beer Army camp as the cold weather came down on us; we just weren’t sure about the turn out. It can be extremely frustrating when you plan an event of this magnitude for months and coordinate all the logistics necessary only to have it thwarted by Mother Nature.
We had a very good VIP ticket holder turnout. We deliberately keep the amount of VIP tickets sold to no more than 25% of overall sales. This ensures a more intimate setting for patrons to be able to navigate the convention center floor and try all the beers they want to without waiting in line. It also allows them to speak to all the brewery reps and ask questions. So it didn’t take long to get them all in the door to the heated comforts that the convention center held.
With less than 15 minutes before we opened the doors to the general admission crowd, there were no more than 30 people in line. The staff and I just looked at each other like, oh shit, this isn’t good. Obviously it takes quite a lot of money to put on a beer festival of this size and scope. If you don’t sell enough tickets, then it is Beer Army holding the bag with a major financial loss on its hands. Not to mention, it is virtually impossible to donate any money to the charities that we support.
Well thank God for all the hardcore Beer Army faithful as we witnessed with five minutes to go, a mass exodus of people leaving their cars to line up. Literally within minutes the line grew over 150 meters and wrapped around the front, sides and all the way to the back of the convention center by the loading docks. We quickly had to surge with extra personnel to check ids, wristband and scan tickets to get patrons in. I’m happy to report we set a new record by getting over 2000 people in the convention center in a span of 17 minutes.
I overheard a couple of VIP patrons asking a local vendor, “what the hell just happened?” with the reply coming from the brewery rep, “that just opened the doors to the GA crowd.” It didn’t take long for the local fire marshal to pay us a visit to validate we were not in violation of the occupancy rate which we weren’t but his eyes convinced him otherwise. Luckily the scanners don’t lie and we had a solid foundation to prove our case.
Huge thanks to all the dedicated beer fans that braved the cold to partake in the festival. You are what make Jolly Skull such a great event year after year. We humbly appreciate your continued support.
With this year’s Jolly Skull Beer Fest all wrapped up, we know firmly turn our undivided attention to the build out and completion of the Beer Army Combat Brewery. For those of you that haven’t kept up on our Facebook page or the brewery webpage at BeerArmyCombatBrewery.com, we finally have our equipment in the building and we expect to have everything wrapped up in the coming weeks. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will have our TTB permit in hand from the Feds soon so we can start rolling out some great beer from Beer Army. Keep up with us on the brewery webpage or Facebook as we have been posting photos of all the progress.
Again, thank you to all the soldiers of the Beer Army for continuing to support us. You are the Beer Army and without you, we simply wouldn’t exist.