The majority of the beers at the raffle were aged for one or two years and came from Big John's own personal collection, which he had been saving just for this raffle. Bourbon County, Founders, Brooklyn Brewery and Sierra Nevada were just some of the great breweries that had themselves represented.
Before the raffle began at 10 PM, everyone was welcome to come into the store and enjoy a free glass of Palm beer as they discussed their favorite beers with other beer lovers in attendance (we even got to keep the glass after the raffle was done!).
Eagerly awaiting for the raffle to begin
Everyone was given 24 (I think that was the number) raffle tickets and was able to divide them up as they chose, to have a better chance of winning the beers they were interested in. If you got your ticket pulled you were entitled to buy the beer you had won. Some of the more highly desired beers included Bourbon County Coffee Stout, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Firestone Walker's 16 Anniversary Ale and Sierra Nevada's Barrel Aged Bigfoot. Tom and I divied our tickets up and the raffle began shortly after we were done.
Big John gave another one of his heartfelt speeches that was both brief and right to the point. He thanked everyone for coming out and said little else besides: "Let's get to the raffle!"
With the help of his girlfriend Lindsay (who also works at Ronkonkoma Beverage) they pulled ticket after ticket and called the numbers on each. Every winner excitedly came up to the table full of fabled beers and redeemed their prize.
Both John and Lindsay had a blast while raffling off beers
The raffle lasted a little under an hour, until all the beers were claimed. I'm about 99% sure that everyone in attendance walked away with at least one prize, while there were a lucky few people who came away winning multiple rare beers.
Tom, who only was interested in the Barrel Aged Bigfoot and the Firestone 16 Anniversary Ale (there was only one bottle in the raffle) ended up winning the 16 Anniversary Ale (so lucky!) and buying a four pack of Sierra Nevada's Narwhal Imperial Stout.
Tom was more than happy with his winnings
I ended up winning a bottle of the 2012 Stone Collaboration beer Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout (which I was ecstatic about) and DevESTATEtion by Sierra Nevada. Big John also ended up letting me buy unclaimed bottles of Sierra Nevada's Harvest Ale and Avery Old Jubilation Ale.
John Sr. and Lindsay ringing up some of the lucky winners
Tom and I had a great time and there was nothing but smiles among the crowd of people who showed up at Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage on November 1, 2013. Needless to say, they held yet another successful beer raffle this year with many happy customers who had the chance to bring home beers (and they did) that are no longer available to buy in any beer store. I still think however that the biggest smiles that night belonged to all the employees of Lake Ronkonkoma Beverage.
Thank you for the great time John and crew. You know I will be there every time you decide to have another beer raffle and I will always blog about it.
The beers I took away from 2013 Ronkonkoma Beverage Beer Raffle