Brewfest fizzles as breweries depleted early

— The brew disappeared early Saturday at the ninth annual Steamboat Mountain Brewfest, and event organizers are promising changes for next year's event.

"Next year we'll make sure we have many more breweries," said John James, Brewfest organizer. "For a Brewfest, more beer is better than running out of beer."

Twenty-two of the 25 breweries at the festival ran out of beer before the end of Saturday's event. At about 2:30 p.m. the breweries began shutting down, causing a domino effect as crowds of people were shifted to other breweries and quickly emptied their kegs.

Each brewery brought two kegs of beer, leaving about 2,400 people to share 44 kegs.

James said he had not anticipated such a large crowd.

"We had a lot more people than we thought," James said. "We were looking at the kegs knowing that was not going to be enough."

James said next year, he will have at least 35 breweries with three kegs each.

Some refunds were given Saturday, but James did not have a total Monday. He said the refunds likely would cost the Mountain Business Association hundreds of dollars.

"People whose mugs had not been used or who walked in and realized there was only one brewery left got their money back," James said.

It wasn't until 4:30 p.m. that the very last beer was served, and James said a lot of people stuck around to listen to the bands.

Steamboat Brewery and Tavern tried to help save Brewfest by providing 10 extra kegs toward the end of the event.

Large fluorescent pink signs at the event stated there was no guarantee beer would be available throughout the duration of Brewfest, but James said there clearly was not enough for the event.

"One reason we have Brewfest for so long is so people won't get too drunk too fast," James said. "It has never been guaranteed.

"We'll take measures in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again. We took reactive measures and next year we'll take proactive measures."

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