My Thoughts on the Kate the Great Tickets

The dust has settled in Portsmouth after the crazy 22 hour period of Kate the Great scratch ticket sales. The dust has not settled on the social media stage, though. From Friday at 5pm until Saturday at 2pm, everyone dropped what they were doing to get their hands on a stack of tickets in hopes to win the chance the buy a bottle of the Russian Imperial Stout.

“Not enough notice”

The instant reaction did not seem good, as many complained of the short notice of the ticket sales, but here is my opinion on that. I think they did it the best they could, if they announced on Monday of last week, that they would be selling tickets on Friday, we would basically have a 2nd Kate the Great day and would ruin the town. Not giving enough notice is not a valid argument, that’s how they always announce when Kate is on tap during random times of the year. You have a general idea, but its always a surprise in the end.

“The odds are rigged”

Another major pain point for people was the odds. While the odds were greater this year, as there were more (smaller sized) bottles available, they didn’t reflect in many of the ticket sales. I don’t gamble, so I only bought 10 tickets, which was less than the allowed of 15 per person. I only had a 20 on me and wasn’t going to spend any more. The odds of winning were 1 in 7 as opposed to 1 in 11 last year.

When I got there, I was told person X won 7 out of 15 and 2 people went 15 for 15. That would make anyone think the tickets aren’t “shuffled” properly before selling. But it’s for that reason alone you have to remember, its a lottery. All 2,000 winners could have been in the first 2,000 tickets and that’s the chance you as a gambler make, unfortunately. The second day I didn’t hear many stories of BIG winners but there were indeed winners out there. You can’t blame anyone for the odds not being in your favor. Last year I lost on all the tickets I had (20) and this year I won 7 out of my 10 tickets. Next year is a new year, new odds.

“Pre Determined Tickets”

If you enlarge the above photo, you can indeed tell by looking at the top left corner of the scratch area if the ticket is a winner or a loser. Apparently some folks were mad at this fact. To that I say, what does that matter? I highly doubt the brewery is part of some conspiracy.


I love the scratch ticket idea because its fun and it raises money for charity. More importantly, its less of a hazard to the town on March 5 when all the bottles are pre-bought and the people in line are for draft only. I think this is the idea behind the tickets in the first place. If they had a bigger facility on some bigger land, I am sure they would bring back the Kate the Great Day of years past, but downtown Portsmouth is not suited for an event like that (my opinion). It’s a regional event just like a lot of the other regional big beer release days in the US.

In the end, there will never be a way to please everyone, so the complainers will stand out amongst the crowd. If you can make it to Kate the Great Day on March 5, awesome. However, if you can’t don’t think it’s some end of the world event. It is a great beer and the hype is worth it, but life moves on and there are plenty of other beers to please the palette that are worth searching for.

Portsmouth Beer Week starts Saturday and ends on Kate the Great Day! For all the information you need, check out