What happened at the Untappd Beer Festival at Bank of America Stadium? “We made some mistakes operationally”

What happened at the Untappd Beer Festival at Bank of America Stadium? “We made some mistakes operationally”
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People attending Saturday’s inaugural Untappd Beer Festival inside Bank of America Stadium posted angry complaints all over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — causing Untappd to issue a public explanation.

“We made some mistakes operationally,” Untappd President and COO Trace Smith told me. “Clearly the cups were an issue. We hadn’t planned on them to crack. That’s on us.”

Catch up: Untappd and Bank of America Stadium partnered to create a beer festival inside the stadium — 176 breweries participated and the event sold out of all 12,500 available tickets. It took place Saturday afternoon and was one of our city’s most anticipated spring events.

Major complaints:

Long lines. People complained about waiting to enter the stadium. Additionally, some were turned away from entering during a weather delay.

Beer timing. At the start of the festival, a few popular breweries, including Other Half Brewing from Brooklyn, NY, didn’t have beer available right away. “We did have an issue at the beginning getting product out,” Trace said.

Cups. Tickets promised a “souvenir sampling glass.” It turned out to be an easily breakable plastic cup. Only 15,000 cups were ordered, so as these broke, Untappd had to scramble to come up with other cups. “We hadn’t planned on them to crack; that’s on us,” Trace said.

Weather. Storms rolled in during the afternoon, and attendees were asked to evacuate the field into the concourse. People expected beer in the concourse, but they were disappointed. There was none. Additionally, communication was sparse and people didn’t know what was happening. “We can’t control the weather,” Trace said. “I get that it was not fun.”

You get it — long lines, slow beer delivery at popular breweries, easily breakable cups, unclear rain expectations and bad communication led to some attendees slamming the festival on social media. If you want to read the comments go to the #untappdbeerfestival hashtag on Twitter and the comments under our post on Instagram.

According to Untappd, only a thousand or so people actually left during the rain delay. “The first half was not our best,” Trace said. “We came back out in the second half and did a better job.” The festival was extended an hour in order to allow for more sampling. Those who stuck it out did seem to enjoy the evening, and many defended it as they saw the complaints.

“We learned a lot of lessons. We’re in the software business, so we’re accustomed to getting feedback and processing it to improve. We’ll do the same here.”

Refunds: I anticipate some type of compensation for those who couldn’t get in and early/VIP ticket holders. Part of Untappd’s statement reads, “If you were turned away from entering the event during the weather delay due to stadium policy, we are deeply sorry and are working on a solution. We also recognize there was an issue with the partial brewery setup for Early Admission and VIP ticket holders at the beginning of the event and are working on a solution to that as well.”

Update (Monday 5/6): 

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lines at untappd beer festival charlotte

omb at untappd beer festival charlotte

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untappd glass festival

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