The Olympia Brew Fest, an annual summer beer festival at the Port Plaza in Olympia, Wash., will accept bitcoin for the purchase of admission. The announcement marks a measure of progress in bitcoin as a payment method for alcohol. Festival organizers claim they will be the first in the world to accept bitcoin.
The festival, Aug. 1 from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will feature more than 30 hand-picked, Northwest breweries and over 60 different beers. Tickets can be purchased online using bitcoin or credit cards at olybrewfest.com. Only paper tickets will be accepted; tickets will not be scanned from smart phones. Admission covers a commemorative mug and six 5.5-ounce sample beers.
Bitcoin has faced challenges as a method of payment for alcohol. Last year, the Ohio Department of Public Safety ruled that bitcoin cannot be accepted as payment for alcohol, according to CCN. However, CCN also reported last year that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission allowed bitcoin for alcohol sales.
Honest Brew, a United Kingdom-based company, announced last year that it accepts bitcoin as a payment method.
“It seems to me that if you have something people want, they should be able to get it without inconvenience. Plain and simple,” said Mike Marohn, organizer for the Olympia Brew Fest. “Last year, we had a payment processor who was locking out certain IP addresses from buying tickets and sometimes delaying purchases for several hours. That approach may have been fine 10 years ago, but this is 2015.”
Marohn is a bitcoin investor in addition to being a craft beer aficionado. “As an investor, I have followed bitcoin for the last several years and it has now matured to the point of being a legitimate form of payment for everyday purchases.”
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Designated driver tickets are $55.
There will be three bands performing. There will also be food vendors.
Proceeds from the Olympia Brew Fest, now in its fourth year, benefit the Thurston County Chamber Foundation Small Business Development Program.
The Pacific Northwest dominates the nation’s rapidly growing craft beer industry.
In 2014, for the first time, craft brewers reached double-digit (11 percent) volume share of the beer market, according to the Brewers Association.
In 2014, craft brewers produced 22.2 million barrels and saw an 18 percent rise in volume and a 22 percent increase in retail dollar value. The retail dollar value was estimated at $19.6 billion representing 19.3 percent market share.