85 Degrees. High ABVs. $2 Water.

If you check out the #goose25 hashtag on twitter, you’ll get a sense of how I spent my Sunday. It was a vaguely miserable experience, and not one I’d expected out of one of my favorite beer companies.

Even so, just a vaguely miserable experience wouldn’t have motivated me to write anything for the blog. What’s prompted me to put up a post on the matter was Goose Island Beer Company’s decision that water should only be available for $2/bottle at the event. I noticed this almost immediately after entering the fest and was a little shocked.

This event was outdoors, in a largely unshaded space, on a day with an expected high of 85F. They were serving beers up to 14% ABV. The only water to be had was for sale.

This is dangerous in any situation. Having a thousand or so people in this situation makes it that much worse. Indeed, some of my friends said they witnessed a woman be transported away in an ambulance. I really hope she’s okay.

I’ve never before been to a beer event where water wasn’t freely available. At many of those events, bottled water was ALSO available for sale and I saw people with water bottles. So it’s not that people don’t buy water at beer events. The money-making potential still exists. Providing free water reduces it, I’m sure, but not to zero. Especially not on a hot day.

Unfortunately, not only did they fail to provide free water at a beer fest, they ran out of bottled water to sell. There came a point when there wasn’t potable water to be had. In 85F weather, outside, at a beer event where very big beers were being served.

I know they sold out because Dan tried to buy some for me and him around 2pm. I don’t know when they ran out. Hopefully not too long before then.

What a mess. From a beer company that’s been around longer than I’ve been able to drink and thrown more events than I can shake a stick at, I find it surprising.

Unfortunately, their twitter feed is silent on the topic of the fest, except to confirm certain BCBS variants were tapped. Their website says nothing either. The latest news is about the ways in which they are celebrating the anniversary. They abandoned their #goose25 hashtag. I’d hoped by now, four days after the event, they’d have had something to say. Silence is frustrating.

My hope is that Goose Island Beer Company will have something to say soon regarding the event and the complaints around it. In my case, as is obvious, I’m particularly hoping they’ll have something to say about the water situation then and how they plan to avoid it in the future.

I don’t care about a refund, which I saw some folks calling for on twitter. I don’t think it’s necessary. What I care about is that this situation is never repeated. Maybe that means increasing prices on future events to cover “free” water. If so, do it.

I do love Goose Island Beer Company and I think they make some impressive beers. I’ve learned a lot about beer from drinking their beers and talking with some of their employees. I’ve had a phone case with their logo for ages, and have carried it proudly. I’ve gotten flak for that after the sale to AB-InBev, and I’ve defended my choice thorough, occasionally by buying beers to demonstrate they haven’t lost their brewing mojo. (Judging by Sofie Paradisi, they still haven’t.)

I’d imagine an event like this could draw in a lot of potential new fans, which is probably part of why they threw the party. I know they threw it partially to say thanks for 25 years of support in Chicago. That’s why they pulled out so many rare beers, I’m sure. I appreciate the thought, and the beer I had, and so I’m hoping they’ll step up and finish the job with an apology and a promise of water in the future, especially at outdoor events.

2 thoughts on “85 Degrees. High ABVs. $2 Water.

  1. Wow, to not have enough water around for everyone on a hot day while serving alcohol? That’s irresponsible. I would have thought there were rules against that. And what were DDs supposed to drink?

    • They sold soda as well. I don’t know if they sold out of soda; Dan went for water while I was in line so I don’t know if he asked. Given the heat, I’d assume so. There were 2 food trucks there, I assume also selling soda. I assume they sold out as well. Did I mention the heat?

Comments are closed.