Ticket scalpers messing with the Michigan Brewers Guild can think again.
After reporting via its Facebook page that tickets to the annual Winter Beer Festival sold out in less than 13 hours on Dec. 1, the Guild went on a manhunt for tickets being scalped on Craigslist, StubHub and through other means.
The results of the internal investigation were released today via e-mail.
“Through extensive research, the Michigan Brewers Guild has determined that the majority of Michigan Winter Beer Festival tickets #01-#50 (purchased exclusively at Rochester Mills Beer Company) have been traced back to two individuals who have been illegally scalping the tickets for $80-$120 each…,” said Dianna Stampfler, a Brewers Guild spokeswoman, via e-mail. “As such, these specific tickets have now been voided and will not be honored at the gate on Saturday, February 23, 2013.”
Although tickets #01-#50 are void, including two people who purchased a “small quantity for their own personal use” in that number sequence, replacement tickets are available for exchange through MBG’s president, Eric Briggeman. Ticket holders must contact Briggerman via email to make arrangements by Jan. 15, firstname.lastname@example.org.
But there is one caveat.
“(T)hat is, if you are able to provide information about the person you purchased the ticket from, which corroborates the results of our investigation,” the e-mail said.
News of the bust brought more than 30 comments on Facebook, mostly a back-and-forth between patting the Guild on the back for cracking down on scalpers versus commenters thinking the Guild should butt out of policing scalping.
“Thanks for taking a stand against scalpers,” one commenter wrote. “With as much demand as there is for these quality events the only ones profiting should be the brewers and the Brewers Guild.”
And another commented, “I’m really disappointed in you guys. Sounds like good people will be inconvenienced and/or screwed because of your cluster followed by your holy crusade.”
The Guild acknowledged the victimhood of those who purchased the scalped tickets in its initial e-mail statement, saying MBG “realize(s) those who bought tickets for more than face value are victims in these illegal activities and charges will not be filed against anyone other than the scalpers themselves.”
After continued gathering of information on the suspected scalpers, the Guild will turn over a formal complaint against them to the Michigan Attorney General.
Michigan law prohibits selling/asking for a price higher than face value for tickets to public events, “except if the request, demand, or receipt is with the written permission of the (vendor).” This misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $100 fine.
Meanwhile, MBG is asking anyone with information to contact Briggerman via e-mail.
“Again, we are not interested in those who have purchased these inflated tickets — we are specifically searching for those who have been profiting at the expense of the Guild and its members,” the email said.