Surly's Darkness Day: This is why hundreds of people line up to buy beer you can get in a liquor store

Darkness Eve is almost as popular as Surly's annual Darkness Day event.
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Over the weekend, hundreds of people camped out to get wristbands to buy bottles of beer that they can get in liquor stores this week.

But the highlight of Surly Brewing's annual Darkness Day event isn't the bottle release of Surly Darkness – it's what's become known as Darkness Eve. 

Related:– Tasting 7 years of Surly Darkness in one sitting – how it's changed over the years

The people who want one of those coveted wristbands travel from all around the country to get in line outside Surly's Brooklyn Center brewery Friday afternoon (sometimes even earlier), camping out all night for wristbands to be distributed around sunrise on Saturday. 

But during those 17 or so hours of waiting, the line turns into a 1,000-person bottle share, where people bring special and rare beers from their cellar to trade and drink with everyone else in line. 

This has become Surly founder Omar Ansari's favorite part about Darkness Day.

"All these people hanging out here, setting up campfires, sharing beers. You can just walk around and share a beer with people pretty much all night, which is pretty fun," Ansari told GoMN. 

Darkness Eve was never planned. It sort of just happened, Ansari said. In December 2007, Surly was releasing Darkness in bottles for the first time, and that morning when Ansari got to the brewery around 6 a.m., people were already lined up waiting for their chance to buy it. 

Every year since, people have lined up earlier and earlier. And it's become the main reason people go to Darkness Day. People we spoke to told us buying a bottle of Darkness is just a "bonus" – they come for the overnight bottle share.

"It's the best bottle share in the world," said Jeff Loken, who camped out with friends, including someone who traveled from Denver just for the event.

And even the thunderstorm just before sunrise this year didn't dampen their beer-loving spirits. 

Surly told GoMN about 3,500 people attended this year's actual Darkness Day event on Saturday. 

The line.

The line.

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