Waiting until the last moment, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control changed the rules for today's Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest at Shirlington, Va. The agency told
... brewer Mike McCarthy that Cap City would not receive the licenses it needed to hold the festival if it allowed attendees to taste as many beers as they wanted. <...>
"at the 11th hour," he was told that each person who pays the $25 admission can have no more than 10 tastes of beer all day. <...>
Patrons of last weekend's Northern Virginia Brewfest got unlimited tastings for one price, as did patrons of the Vintage Crystal wine festival in Crystal City the weekend before.
Breaking News: Oktoberfest Crackdown
October 3, 2008
Going Out Gurus
A slight correction concerning last week's Northern Virginia Brewfest: attendees could indeed have unlimited tastings, but needed to purchase additional drink tickets for any additional tastings after ten apiece.
But for today's festival, the rules have been changed in a seemingly capricious manner. It's 10 tastings -- 4 ounces each -- total. No more may be purchased.
If this ABC agent had stated his objections months ago when the license had been applied for, any concerns and issues might have been resolved. His ruling seems legally inconsistent and random. Other festivals have not been held to this revised standard.
Awarding a license to the festival and then changing the details of that license ex post facto at the last moment with no time for appeal is patently unfair and wrong. It puts the organizers at financial risk. Bills have been paid; arrangements have been made; tickets have been sold.
And even more to the point: In the 9 years that the Shirlington Oktoberfest has been held, there have been no real problems. In fact, just the opposite seems apparent. This is a festival that has the support of the community, the police, the businesses. Families with children attend.
Scheduled to have beers/cider at the Festival:
Abita, Allagash, Anderson Valley, Avery, Bells, Bear Republic, Boston Beer, Brooklyn, Chimay, Clipper City, District Chop House, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Fordham, Fullers, Gordon-Biersch, Hook & Ladder, Lagunitas, Lancaster, New Holland, North Coast, Old Dominion, Ommegang, Oscar Blues, Otter Creek, Paulaner, Raven, Rock Bottom, Rogue, Shenandoah Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Smuttynose, Spaten, Starr Hill, Southern Tier, Stone, Sweetwater, Tröegs, Victory, Vintage 50, Weihenstephaner, Williamsburg, Wolavers, Woodchuck.
[UPDATE 2008.10.04: Photos from the festival.]