Three Floyds Brewing Company has had to make changes in the way it runs Dark Lord Day, coming up April 30. We have previously covered the new rules that only those who were able to buy tickets at Saturday's online sale will be allowed onto the Three Floyds property, let alone to buy an allotment of Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout.
The Dark Lord Day story has even made the Chicago Tribune, which noted that the 2010 DLD drew about 10,000 people to the industrial park where Floyds is located. Only a few thousand attendees had the "Golden Tickets" sold to guarantee an allotment of the prized high-proof beer. The rest formed an improvised beer festival: trading tastes or whole bottles of other beers and homebrews not normally found in this area, tailgating, what have you. The nearly exponential growth of Dark Lord Day has led to concerns from other tenants of the industrial park, including a hospital and synagogue, and concerns over Three Floyds' liability. Thus the restrictions for 2011 are in place.
This year, 6,000 tickets were sold online, which will allow the bearer to buy an allotment of 22 oz. bottles of Dark Lord. Those without tickets are being warned to stay away. Lt. Kurt Matz, Patrol Division Commander for the Town of Munster Police Department, further clarified, "This is the first year that Three Floyds will fence in their property. The festival has grown to the point where they have to control access."
The Dark Lord Day web site shows a map of lots in the industrial park near the Three Floyds brewhouse at 9750 Indiana Parkway, where event goers can and cannot park. Matz told me, "Last year, the on-street parking filled in very fast. Because of cars parked on both sides of the streets, we might not have been able to ambulances through in an emergency. This year, there will be signs posted to limit parking to one side of the street."
In 2010's Dark Lord Day, two people were arrested for disorderly conduct, said Matz. "This year, Three Floyds has hired an event planner and a private security company. They want to reduce the chance of damage to their own property, and they're cooperating with us to minimize problems elsewhere."
Matz pointed out that areas outside of the Three Floyds are also restricted and will be patrolled. "There's a town park along Calumet Avenue, where no alcohol is allowed. There's also a ball field across Calumet that we want to keep clear for soccer games." For no other reason, people should not try to hang out in the area because the only restrooms, portable or otherwise, will be inside the fence. Public urination, along with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and loitering will be reasons for the police to ask you to move on, or even arrest offenders. The town of Munster has also enacted a ban on recreational vehicle parking in the town's streets or parks.
Those who are attending should watch the Dark Lord Day website for updated information about hours, parking, and other details.
"If there's one thing I want people to take away from this, it's that if you don't have a ticket, don't come," Matz said.
Having seen how big DLD got just four years ago, I'm surprised that only two arrests happened last year. Perhaps it's a testament to the average craft beer fan that a crowd of 10,000 people swilling Lite would be a lot more disorderly.
If you've already scheduled a trip to Munster anticipating getting a ticket by April 30 and can't, there will be alternatives. Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery in Flossmoor, Illinois will again host a Pre-DLD party the Friday before, April 29, with a re-tooled recipe of their .357 Imperial Pilsner and opportunities for beer sampling among guests. Groups linked by sites like RateBeer and BeerAdvocate will be planning to hook up either at nearby hotels, or bars close to Three Floyds. As DLD draws closer, I hope to update you with more DLD party listings.