Beer festival returning to BofA Stadium in May with last year’s issues fixed, organizers promise

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This year will be different. That’s the promise from organizers of the Untappd Beer Festival after last year’s debut devolved into a mess of bad weather and poor planning — up to and including flimsy sampling cups prone to breaking.

Last year, in late February, Wilmington-based Untappd and the Carolina Panthers announced a partnership to start a beer festival and have it at Bank of America Stadium. Held on May 4, and with ticket sales of 12,500, organizers left many ticket-buyers stuck outside during a lightning storm, had no backup plan when tasting cups began cracking and endured a flood of criticism on social media from unhappy attendees.

They apologized publicly. Untappd refunded $115,000 to unhappy customers — some of whom never made it inside the stadium because of storm-caused delays — while sending out $10,000 worth of complimentary beer glasses as a goodwill gesture.

Untappd president and COO Trace Smith, during a recent interview with CBJ, acknowledged the failures of the first festival and vowed to make everyone attending happy when the event returns to BofA Stadium on May 16.

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