$275 for Tickets to Dark Lord Day? What the Market Will Bear.

March 22 2011 - 8:00 AM

On Saturday, March 19th, tickets went on sale for $12 a piece for Dark Lord Day, the release of the Dark Lord Imperial Stout beer at Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana. Josh, the Editor/Publisher of Chicago Foodies, was kind enough to send me a text to remind me of the pending ticket purchase. I had my trigger finger ready to press the button at exactly 1:00 Central Daylight Time, down to the second. The part of the website with the ticket selection took about five minutes to load, after having to reload all the links to get there several times, due likely to high traffic volume. It was 1:05 before I was able to have an opportunity select the quantity of tickets, which were toboggan aquatique gonflable divided into admission to one of three sessions and a maximum of two tickets per person:  A, between 10 a.m. and noon; B, between 1:00 and 3:00; and C, which was between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.  These tickets, which gave you the right to enter the festivities, did not include a purchase of the Dark Lord beer, which was separate.

The brewers at Three Floyds had good intentions of keeping this an orderly event and wanted to give consumers a fair shot at getting tickets. It’s also worth mentioning that a portion of ticket sales are to be slated for charity, which again, really says a lot for the folks behind this effort.

What happened when tickets were sold out, however, was a different story. It appeared that scalpers seized the opportunity and posted tickets in the range of $115 to $275 (at this time) on Craigslist and Stubhub, and presumably their technique of procuring tickets was much more sophisticated than the naive attempts I made (as well as that of some of my friends). Unfortunately this also means scalpers make the majority of the money, so perhaps Three Floyds could have charged, say, $50 or even $100 per ticket for the opportunity to attend, which would at least have diminished the arbitrage position and put more money to charity (and even given fans more of an opportunity to buy tickets, despite high prices). Three Floyds is a business and can charge what they want for tickets, but sadly, it was the scalpers that benefitted from this more than anyone.

–Brian Ziegler