The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular has barreled its way to success, with a record turn out of more than 22,500 people attending the Melbourne and Sydney festivals.
In just its first year in Sydney, more than 6,300 people attended the one-day event at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh and 16,200 attended the three-day festival in Melbourne, up from 12,000 the previous year.
Co-founders of GABS, and owners of renowned Local Taphouse venues in St Kilda and Darlinghurst, Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone, say the growth in just four years since they launched the first GABS at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, is nothing short of phenomenal.
“The response to GABS 2015 in Melbourne and Sydney has blown us away, with both events better attended and more successful than we could have hoped for. We feel it really confirms the increasing interest in craft beer, and the uniqueness of our event,” says Guy Greenstone.
The event showcases 120 brand new one-off Festival Beers brewed especially for GABS by the best brewers from around Australia and overseas, many with exotic ingredients and brewing processes.
One of those, a sweet stout called ‘Milk and Two Sugars’ which included cold-dripped coffee and vanilla beans, was the winner of this year’s ‘Beer & Brewer People’s Choice Best Festival Beer award’ – brewed by BrewCult in Melbourne’s Brunswick East.
In total there were more than 350 beers from 150 Australian and international breweries showcased.
Steve Jeffares says while the event certainly draws crowds because of that, it’s also the unique live entertainment, brewery stands, great food and educational sessions which are driving people in their thousands to attend.
“We’re really pleased that GABS is unlike any other beer experience, and to be named one of the top 20 beer festivals in the world recently by a prestigious US beer magazine has been a really nice accolade we feel we are living up to.
“The most exciting thing is that the vast majority of people who attended GABS are new converts to flavoursome beer who will drive future growth of craft beer in Australia.”
Jeffares says they’re really hoping to bring the event back to Sydney again next year and will begin talks in the coming months to make this a reality.
More information: www.gabsfestival.com.au