Manchester beer festival compared to disastrous Willy Wonka experience with £40 tickets for ‘half empty’ venue

The Manchester beer festival was slammed as dissapointing and compared to Glasgow’s ill-fated Wonka experience

Alexander Butler
Thursday 28 March 2024 15:20 GMT
A Manchester beer festival was compared to Glasgow’s disastarous Willy Wonka experience after customers turned up to a ‘half empty’ venue with ‘rude’ staff
A Manchester beer festival was compared to Glasgow’s disastarous Willy Wonka experience after customers turned up to a ‘half empty’ venue with ‘rude’ staff (International Brewing & Cider Festival)

A beer festival in Manchester was compared to Glasgow’s disastrous Willy Wonka experience after customers turned up to a “half empty” venue with “rude” staff.

The first International Brewing and Cider (IBC) Festival, which was a two-day ticketed event with prices of up to £40, was held at the Depot Mayfield Manchester last weekend. But its organisers were soon forced to apologise after customers slammed the experience, criticising the quality of the drinks on offer and the costs.

One festival-goer said on X: “The most disappointing beer event ever. I had three beers which all tasted like a plastic cup. One went in the sink, one a mate finished for me and the third went in the urinal.

“Left before we had been there for two hours. The Wonka of beer festivals. I paid £43 to get in. I’ll get over the financial cost but distrust such events in future.”

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The IBC replied: “We are very sorry that you had a less than perfect experience at the International Brewing & Cider Awards Festival. This was our first festival and everything was not perfect.

“We are a not-for-profit trade organisation representing the value chain supplying the brewing and beverage industry and organiser of the oldest international brewing and cider awards in the world.

“As a first time Festival we underwent a steep learning curve & believe we adapted to deliver a better model as the event progressed.

“Certainly, should we organise a Festival to follow the 2026 Awards all of our learnings and your feedback will be taken into account.”

Organisers of Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow were also forced to apologise for their event (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

Customer Matt Turner-Allen told BBC News he paid £38.50 for a ticket that came with six tokens - but only for half pints of selected drinks.

He said: “I texted my boss in Glasgow, and I said this is the Willy Wonka festival of Manchester. I have young kids and I have to be selective with my nights out, so it was a big disappointment.”

It comes after the organisers of a disastrous Willy Wonka-style experience in Glasgow were forced to apologise after families said they were still waiting for refunds.

House of Illuminati, which charged up to £35 for tickets, promised families an “immersive experience” but instead they arrived to find a sparse warehouse filled with strange AI-generated characters including made-up villain ‘The Unknown’, who left children in tears.

One parent complained of arriving to find a “disorganised mini-maze of randomly placed oversized props, a lacklustre candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child, and a terrifying chrome-masked character that scared many of the kids to tears”.

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