CHICAGO
03/29/2013 03:28 pm ET | Updated Mar 29, 2013

Chicago Beer Festival, American Beer Classic In Apparent Tiff

Updated story

Possibly thanks to a competing beer event's intervention, Saturday's Chicago Beer Festival is set to be a little bit different this year.

In the past, the festival -- the debut edition of which was held last spring at Union Station -- offered unlimited tastings over a three-hour session from dozens of participating breweries.

But someone reportedly alerted the Illinois state board to the all-you-can-drink policy, which does not align with state law, according to the fest's Facebook page. This forced the festival to make a last-minute change to sell 20 tasters for the $40 admission price, with food sold separately, angering some ticket buyers.

The previously sold-out festival said it is offering refunds for ticket buyers who request them on account of the change:

Since it's an issue of the state policy (which they either didn't know or didn't care about before the Soldier Field festival complained about us), we don't get to decide if we want to comply with it.

The Soldier Field festival, the inaugural American Beer Classic, is set to be held on May 11 and is already billing itself as one of the largest beer festivals in the nation. An American Beer Classic spokeswoman responded Friday afternoon and denied the other fest's accusation:

We’re impressed with Chicago Beer Festival and want nothing but success for them and all the beer festivals in Illinois and other locations. The only conversations our representatives have had with licensing authorities are regarding licensing for our festival. We’re excited to have American Beer Classic come to life in May and provide festival goers access to hundreds of great brews from around the country, while showcasing the industry through a great experience.

As Chicago magazine points out, the state's Happy Hour Law specifically prohibits the sale of unlimited alcoholic drinks during a set amount of time at a fixed price, except at private events.

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