• Old Dark Lord (2008) on the left, new Dark Lord (2013) on the right

This year Dark Lord Day, the annual beer and metal festival that’s also the only place (and the only day) that Three Floyds Brewing of Munster, Indiana, sells its famous Dark Lord Russian imperial stout, fell on Saturday, April 27. I’ve been going since 2008 (though I missed 2012), and in that time the brewery has made several changes in an attempt to control overcrowding, scalping, line jumping, and other bad behaviors that proliferate wherever demand exceeds supply.

Beginning in 2009 attendees had to buy Golden Tickets in advance in order to score their allotted bottles of Dark Lord. Beginning in 2011, to get a Golden Ticket you had to purchase an admission ticket, which restricted entrance to the grounds to patrons willing to pay up front (and able to pounce on the online sales page within minutes). Tickets have steadily increased in price, and cost $30 plus service fees in 2013. Three Floyds diverts money from ticket sales to charity, in part to blunt criticism that the brewery exploits the hype over Dark Lord to fleece its most dedicated customers: the event’s FAQ page says, “We are donating a portion of the proceeds to three charities that support Veterans, Literacy and the Humane Society.”