I live in the UK and joined AHA partly (I also support the aims of AHA and enjoy reading your mag) to give me a better chance of getting a ticket for the beer fest when I come over to Colorado for a 2 week holiday - I was lucky and got the 2 tickets required for the Thursday night. From an outsider looking in I am amazed at the ticketing issue. Firstly amazed at the huge demand and immediate sell out, secondly by the blatant immediate resale of tickets at a huge profit. It is clear that for many this is purely a money making exercise and I am surprised that it is allowed in such a blatant way.
In the UK resale of tickets at a profit is common but for certain events like the London Olympics as well as soccer and other sporting events is illegal. The Olympics in particular was very strictly and successfully controlled with ID checks and any abuse resulted in ticket cancellation. I am not sure how draconian you want measures to be but clearly this issue is causing friction.
Perhaps the issue needs to be looked at in a different way. Is the venue big enough ? Should there be more sessions over more days, should the sessions be all day with people able to pay on the door as other people leave after an afternoon visit. I know its difficult with the reliance on volunteers etc but it does seem to need looking at.
With the Great British Beer Fest in London we open from Tues to Sat - open all day 12 - 10.30. Tickets are available online from a couple of months ahead but are always available on the door as well provided you don't mind a good old fashioned British queue ! It never sells out ahead of the start. If you buy online and are a CAMRA member (somewhat similar to AHA) you get a price discount. Most people either go for a lunchtime and afternoon session or an evening session so you get quite a turnaround of people. I think total attendance over the 5 days is about 60,000. An army of volunteers organise and run the event.
I don't know what the answer is but I must admit I do hate the immediate resale and blatant profiteering that goes on - I suppose one answer is to refuse to buy tickets from these people and leave them with unsold tickets.
Anyway I am really looking forward to the event and sampling some of your great beers. I regularly visit the USA and always research local breweries before the trip. First of all though I need to get through the British Beer Fest in a couple of weeks !!! Cheers.