‘We’re sorry we let you down’: Vancouver craft beer week festival turns into one-day event for 2023

The festival is making some changes this year

The Vancouver Craft Beer Week festival is making the 2023 event one-day-only following a “disastrous experience” in 2022. Mark Yuen / Vancouver Craft Beer Week

Following last year’s disastrous experience, the popular Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW) festival is making some changes for the 2023 event.

In 2022, Metro Vancouver’s largest craft beer festival promised to set itself apart from past iterations of the beloved tasting, but instead had to issue statements and apologies.

Since then, the team behind the festival has “challenged and focused ourselves to make sure none of the mistakes that took place on that day could ever happen again,” reads the festival’s website.

In order to make the craft beer celebration run smoothly, the VCBW is making this year’s festival a one-day-only event, which will take place on July 8.

Previously, the festival required guests to purchase RFID wristbands and pre-load them with a $50 deposit in order to purchase beers (on top of the admission cost). However, the cashless wristband system resulted in long waits to add funds, guests being charged multiple times, and usage problems.

This year, the festival is entirely removing currency, including RFID and Tokens, for beverages to ensure that there’s no chance of it failing again. It also means guests won’t have to pay for any drinks once inside the event.

“This will also drastically reduce line-ups at each booth, if there will be any at all. And of course, by bringing in refillable water stations, guests will have access to all the free water the could possibly enjoy,” notes VCBW.

Having to pay a $3 a piece for bottled water, as empty bottles for water refills were not permitted, was one of the complaints the festival faced last year.

“For those of you who aren’t coming back, we’re sorry we let you down. That said, we’ve heard you, made changes and are excited for where VCBW goes from here,” says VCBW.

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