The first Great Swedish Beer Festival was a success!

by | Nov 7, 2019

The very first Great Swedish Beer Festival (in Malmö, Sweden) kicked off on Saturday the 26th of October. This festival was the brainchild of two Swedes with a passion for Swedish craft beer. TicketCo was in charge of providing the app that made the experience run smoothly for the visitors and breweries.

With TicketCo, Great Swedish Beer Festival got a new system for beer tokens and also for delivering important information to visitors, breweries and the festival organizers. Expectations were high and the organizers hoped to see a festival with no lines and minimal need for note-taking while trying out beers.

To understand more about how it all turned out and also to learn more about future plans for beer festivals, we had a chat with one of the organizers, Erik.

A festival with a new system for beer tokens and information

The creators of the Great Swedish Beer Festival wanted to move away from older systems of tokens and caps for buying beer samples. The elimination of lines for buying tokens freed up a lot of time for the actual festival experience.

With the app from TicketCo, visitors could buy their beer tokens in advance. It was also possible to charge the app with money while at the festival. Once a visitor bought a beer, he would automatically get the information about it via the app.

Rather than scribbling down notes with the name of the beer and its characteristics, the visitor could easily retrieve this information from the app when needed. This makes it so much easier to identify the favourites at a later point and to buy them to share with friends and family.

Thanks to TicketCo’s virtual system, visitors could give their undivided attention to the Swedish craft beers presented at the festival. The breweries that came to showcase their products also benefitted from the smart system.

A well-visited but calm festival

When we get a hold of Eric, he is out walking. His voice gives the success away. “We would say that this is a success. We haven’t tallied up all the numbers yet, but from what we hear from people, we are very happy with the results of this festival.”

Erik goes on to tell us that all the festival tickets were sold upfront. Everyone who bought a ticket did not show up but around 4700 visited the festival over the two sessions. The first session was between 11.00 and 15.00 and the second session was held between 17.00 and 21.00.

“It was incredibly calm and that is pretty common for this type of event. People don’t get drunk and it is not common to have to show people the door. They come to try beer, not to get intoxicated” says Erik.

The very first Great Swedish Beer Festival in Malmö attracted many different types of visitors. Erik tells us that he himself has visited many beer festivals. Although it is quite common for these festivals to exclusively attract “men with long beards”, the Swedish event was different.

The crowd was a mix of everyone from friends in their twenties to retirees. The common thread was the interest in Swedish craft beer. What’s more, no one had to suffer lines!

No tokens and no lines!

Among the expectations for the festival was the elimination of lines and the possibility of buying beer tokens pre-emptively.

Erik tells us:

“We didn’t get as many as we had hoped to buy the tokens before the event. But we had volunteers that went through the crowd and helped people load their mobiles with beer funds. So it worked out well anyway. We never had any lines to speak of, not even for the plastic cards that we used as an alternative to the app.”

Erik describes the app setup as convenient for all involved. He has heard many positive comments from visitors regarding the absence of lines. It was also easy to load the smartphone with money for the event.

The system made a difference and that gladdens TicketCo. Thanks to the solution that removed unnecessary lines, the 4-hour sessions could be used fully for beer tasting and learning. Nobody had to skip a beer due to waiting times.

These are features that aid any event, be it craft beer tasting or watching an exciting sport competition.

The Father of Swedish craft beer gave a thumbs up

The breweries were just as happy as the visitors of the beer festival. This is important to note. Many of the breweries that came to showcase their Swedish craft beer said that this was the best festival they ever participated in.

“One person, who can be seen as the Father of all Swedish craft beer, and has been to festivals all over the world, said to me that this is well on par with the very best international beer festivals” Eric says. “Everyone will come back next year” he adds.

With compliments like these, the festival organizers are very satisfied. The fact that all the breweries that participated want to come again is proof of a beer festival that worked the way it should!

Craft beer and a modern app in perfect harmony

The breweries were very happy with the system from TicketCo. Erik explains that they are used to different systems for selling beer at festivals. Many times, different types of markers are used to sell beer. Great Swedish Beer Festival was perceived as very smooth despite using a modern and high tech system.

“This was something I worried about. I feared that the breweries would be a bit old-fashioned and that they would think that modern apps don’t go hand-in-hand with the craft. But the harmony was perfect. The breweries were incredibly thankful for the easy-to-use system and appreciated that it was so swift” says Erik.

An office party for Swedish craft beer breweries

The Swedish breweries that participated in the Great Swedish Beer Festival did not get to choose the specific position for their boots on the festival premises.

“We let them know that they couldn’t bring their own marketing materials and they couldn’t buy space on the floor. By doing this, we were able to place the breweries in a mixed way and this was appreciated. This way, people who would never had met got a chance to talk” Erik explains.

He describes the festival as a yearly office party for Swedish craft beer breweries but without the guzzle. There was time to talk and share experiences. The festival was an important meeting place for people that share similar working environments. As such, it was not only an oasis for the visitors that love true craft beer.

The next festival is coming up

Erik hopes that there will be another Great Swedish Beer Festival in the fall of 2020.

“We have a working date which is set for October 24, 2020. This is a non-profit project and aside from it we have full-time jobs. There are some organizational structures that must be changed to make this work” says Erik.

Nonetheless, he sounds positive for next year and points out that the experience gathered from the first festival has been useful. He thinks that there will be a Great Swedish Beer Festival for Swedish craft beer next year even if it entails a lot of work.

TicketCo will gladly help to make coming festivals as smooth with smart solutions for tickets and for buying beer, before and during the festival. This year’s visitors will be able to use the information stored on their app to quickly find the beers that they discovered in a store. And the organizers, as well as the breweries, can learn a lot more about the visitors’ behaviour based on the information stored about this year’s festival.

If you enjoy craft beer and want to discover Swedish beer treasures, you might want to take note and book a visit to Malmö at the end of October next year. The tickets for this year’s festival sold out and we are guessing that the Great Swedish Beer Festival of 2020 will be just as sought after!


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Tack för i år ?? #gsbf2019

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Written by TicketCo

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