Updated after the jump with a response from the department, who claims Beerathon organizers need their own liquor license.
Originally posted at 6:45 a.m.
Was it too impossibly awesome to last? For $55, beerathoners were to be handed a 12-oz. beer at each of 26 bars downtown, over 13 hours. Sort of like the dance of death that frat boys are rumored to do on their 21st birthdays, only classier and hoppier and certified by Beerathon LLC.
But no longer!
The Man's shitshow radar apparently went off sometime yesterday, and the Beerathon folks were forced to post this message to their Facebook page:
"Because of a dispute with the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, the organizers of the L.A. Beerathon will be refunding your ticket. You will be receiving an email to this effect from our Ticketing Agent explaining how this refund will work within the next day or two.
At issue is the idea that the beer to be consumed at the event was "free". Thus the day is not being cancelled, as the venues will STILL have EXCELLENT drink and food specials, as well as fun entertainment that is still planned. It will simply not be "free". Of course, since you all paid $55, and the bars would still be compensated, it wasn't exactly free, but that's the kind of semantics that you'll have to take up with the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control."
We were thinking the event might be cancelled more for encouraging a bunch of pedestrians to get completely blasted -- even to wear the drool as a badge of honor. As organizer "Sam" told our food blog yesterday morning, when the future still looked bright, "Competing in the Los Angeles Beerathon is an honor in itself and finishing it in any capacity is an honor, too. If you climb a mountain like Mount Kilamanjaro, when you get up to the top, it's an accomplishment in and of itself. You don't get an award for it. You just do it for the personal gratification of taking on a seemingly impossible challenge and conquering it."
OK, this is getting far too awesome to be reality. And indeed, the "free" excuse could just be a legal in-road for the career buzz-killers at Alcoholic Beverage Control. (Other trophy heads on their wall include alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.)
But the really annoying thing about the crackdown is that Beerathons have been going off hitchless in New York City for five years now. Why do you have to be so down, New York State Liquor Authority? Can you please waft some of your Euro sensibilities out westward for the weekend?
The L.A. Beerathon hints that it only takes one sober Sally with a badge to ruin the dreams of 4,000 bar flies (kill the beast!):
"We tried every possible solution and suggested every possible alternative, but a particular inspector at the ABC was already 100% committed to shutting down the event."
Frustrated as they are, organizers assure you that you'll get your money back.
And they still want you to brave the course by paying for each beer individually, in the name of "friendships":
"We still want you to have a great time. Remember, the day is not being cancelled, as the venues will STILL be open at the time originally planned, will STILL have EXCELLENT drink and food specials, as well as fun entertainment that is still planned. We just have to be removed from the equation for now and refund your tickets. Participants will still be able to enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that makes a Beerathon so great. Because it starts with the beer, but it's always been about the friendships."
Don't let sober Sally win, Los Angeles. You got this.
UP NEXT: ABC responds, denies all responsibility.