Crafty Pint /
The seeds for the most unique new addition to Melbourne’s craft beer scene were first sown 11 years ago on the Gold Coast. Eighteen-year-old Anton Sagan, not long arrived in Australia from Siberia, was keen to get some take out beer for a BBQ. Having grown up in a culture where, like New Zealand, the filling of flagons with draught beer was commonplace, he walked into a bar with his girlfriend and made his request.
“Can I get some takeaway beer? I can go and get a vessel for you to fill or I’m happy for you to use any empty Coke bottle from the bar?” he said.
“He looked at me like I was from the moon,” says Anton today. “He didn’t know why I would want one.”
He’s recounting the tale from behind the counter at Tru Bru, his new growler selling outlet in South Yarra, stood in front of four Pegas growler fillers and below a board telling customers how to order from the list of 16 beers and ciders on offer in three simple steps. It may have taken more than a decade, but after leaving a well paid career in commercial management in the rail and energy industries, he’s decided he’s going to be at the vanguard of bringing take home draught beer to the masses.
“A love of fresh beer is where it stems from,” he says.
It’s led to a custom-designed system that allows him to pour from 16 kegs (stored in a cool room that takes up practically half of the venue’s floor space) through just four Pegas growler fillers. It does this via a simple-looking system of taps alongside each filler and a system on the other side of the wall that purges each line with CO2 after each pour to ensure there is no contamination between beers and ciders. Without going into detail (ask Anton to show you if you really want to see how it works), it’s also set up so there’s next to no wastage after each pour.
“I hate wasting good beer!” he laughs when asked.
Beer is available in three vessel sizes. There’s the well known 1.9 litre Growler (decorated with Boris the bear), the one litre Squealer (complete with a home brewing hare called Fitzherbert Sinclair) and then Australia’s smallest take home, reusable vessel that they’re calling the “Whistler” (“Grab a few and try ‘em all,” says Anton of the runt of the litter).
Each comes with a poem representing a different part of the craft beer world: retailer, home brewer and distributor, as well as a panel where the Tru Bru Beerista (wearing an apron with “Beerista” sewn into it) can fill in the requisite beer info to keep the ATO happy.
As for the ATO and the excise situation regarding growler filling that has frustrated many in the industry, Anton says he has spent much time in conversation with the Tax Office only to conclude that growlers have been “swept under the carpet”. That said, he’s not had trouble sourcing a wide range of local and international beers and ciders in 20 and 30 litre kegs. Or, it seems, in emptying them.
During our two hour catch up on a midweek early afternoon, among the regulars and newcomers replenishing their supplies or sating their curiosity, there are a couple of deliveries and collections. One is from Mornington Peninsula Brewery who tell us that Tru Bru has been through ten of their 30 litre kegs since opening less than a month earlier before assuring Anton that he’s in line for some of their next special.
The impression is that, for a new concept in an area where craft beer itself is an alien concept to most, things have got off to a rather good start. There seem to be plenty of reasons too.
For a start, the shop itself is as unique in the craft beer world as the growler only idea is. It’s distinctly a retail outlet; you could easily take the growlers and branded glassware off the walls and replace them with cool sneakers or take the beers from the back wall and switch in hip dude food and it would still work. It makes it a unique experience and one that, because the beer is good, isn’t merely a gimmick.
Secondly, the look and feel fits its location, a hop and a step from the Toorak Road / Chapel Street intersection (and next to South Yarra train station, which can only help).
Add to that the aforementioned fact that there is bugger all craft beer in that part of town, yet there are people looking for it. And then add in the enthusiasm that its owner brings to the process too. Existing customers are welcomed with a rundown of what’s new (usually accompanied by a chance to sample a little), while new faces are greeted with a lively spiel about Tru Bru’s dedication to “fresh craft beer and cider”. He seems not just enthused by getting his venture up and running but by the fact that, in many cases, he’s the first person to impart knowledge of the wonders of craft beer onto passers-by intrigued by this beer-hawking little retail outlet in a hidden little laneway.
For someone new to the business of craft beer – and who only started working on the concept earlier this year – he’s done his research. He spent time with the owners of The Local Taphouse St Kilda and Slowbeer talking about their experiences with growlers over the past three years. And he’s signed up to the Craft Beer Industry Association and hopes they’ll help inform breweries about this “new channel” for getting their beer into punter’s hands.
Aside from the growler family, he sells a selection of cured meats and cheeses, biltong, nuts and spiced snacks, plus a small selection of craft beer and soft drink cans. And that’s it. At least for now.
As for the future, first up will be an imminent expansion to 20 lines from 16, while Anton is also working towards a license that will allow him to offer tasting paddles for sale onsite. Beyond that, once the South Yarra store is established, the plan is to roll out Tru Bru to other sites across Melbourne and then further afield, with discussions already underway as to whether this is best achieved by an expansion or via franchising.
For now, he seems well set. The regulars that come in stay for long chats and as first time buyers leave, they’re generally sent away with: “Thanks for drinking good craft beer!” wafting in the air behind them.
“The awesome thing is that customers are engaging,” says Anton. “They walk in out of curiosity, have a discussion and are like ‘Wow! This is amazing.’
“I talk to them and they listen.”
And that’s how craft beer is going to go beyond its niche and become just beer: people who care about it talking to people about why it’s so good and hoping that they listen. While pouring tasty beer for them of course. It will take all manner of approaches for the beer world to reach that point, but with Tru Bru it has yet another: one that’s eye-catching and unique and with big plans for the future.
“When we set targets, our initial expectation was that by month six we would get to 100 per cent capacity,” says Anton. “Going by the first month, we’ll probably get there in half that time, which is amazing considering we are in a hidden spot.”
Tru Bru is at 3/9 Yarra Street, South Yarra.
Crafty Pint /
Ekim founder Mike Jorgensen is reeling off the beers he brews: After Battle Pale Ale; Viking IPA; Berserker Amber IPA; Hell Black IPA.
“It’s fair to say you’re a brewer who likes hops then.”
“I do respect all styles of beer,” he says. “But I certainly like to brew that American style of beer.
“I brew what I want to drink and it sits well with the market. I brewed an English style dark beer/stout earlier in the year and I loved it, but I couldn’t wait to get away from it in the end.”
A love of hop forward styles seems to be proving a route to success for New South Wales' burgeoning craft brewing scene, with fellow breweries such as Riverside Brewery and The Grifter Brewing Co not shy in showcasing their love of US-inspired beers and reaping the rewards. That said, Ekim predates many of them – it celebrated four years in October – yet started from humbler beginnings. It’s only really been in 2013 that production has been ramped up.
Before starting out on his own Mike trained as an assistant at another brewery, gaining experience but also realising that working for someone else – especially on assistant brewer’s wage – wasn’t for him. Thankfully, through a somewhat circuitous route involving a brother-in-law, a business partner and someone’s cousin, he was introduced to a guy called Colin Larter, who had set up the tiny Happy Goblin brewery in Sydney.
“I knocked on his door a few times, we shared a few beers, and he said he thought I should brew. I’d done a few homebrew competitions and had done quite well, so he said I should get my beer out there. I couldn’t do it on my own, so he invited me to use his brewery,” says Mike.
Since then, while Mike says some people see them as an odd match, they’ve dovetailed into an effective team. While Colin has no great desire to expand his brewing, he plays a handy supporting role in the brewery as Ekim grows; Happy Goblin only brews every two or three weeks, but Mike has reduced his landscape gardening business to one day a week, allowing him to spend five in the brewery.
His very first release was the Viking IPA, a beer that he now claims to look upon with “disgust”, but which he intends to reinvent and relaunch with a new recipe in 2014. Instead it was the second beer that really saw Ekim take off.
“The After Battle Pale has been a huge success and has been the dominant beer for me. I changed a lot as a brewer then too,” he says of a time when he took stock, began reading more books on brewing and took on board advice from Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker about keeping things simple.
More recently, his cause has been helped by the patronage of Peter Lalor, the cricket writer who also pens occasional pieces on beer for The Australian, including an annual end of year Top 20 Aussie beers. He has been a big fan of Mike’s beers for some time, featuring them in the paper whenever the opportunity arises.
“When you get blokes come up to you and say they love your beers, it’s great,” he says. “When Peter Lalor said he wanted to do a story on me, it was an honour. I still can’t even believe it.”
As for the brewer’s life: “You have to do it because you love it. I was with four brewers the other day, including a friend who I did my training with who now brews at Ballast Point in the States. He does exactly the same 60 hours plus every week, but we love it.”
Mike’s biggest challenge now, like every good brewer across Australia, is trying to meet demand. His beers are available relatively widely across Sydney, with some in Brisbane too. He’d love to hit up the Melbourne market, but finding the time and the beer is proving tricky; all of his beer is pre-sold before it’s brewed and anyone wanting a keg now will have to wait until the New Year, despite the fact he recently upgraded to a 1,000 litre brewery and installed a couple of new tanks.
“We have such momentum now,” says Mike. “I put two 1200 litre tanks in in August and they are running flat out already. I’ve already got Cassie [Potts, a beer blogger, graphic designer and marketer who’s handling much of the non-brewing side of the business for Ekim] asking what I’m going to do.”
Mike with Cassie Potts
While he works that out, Brisbane-based Cassie has been knocking the rest of the business into shape. She first came across his beers when sent a mixed pack to review by Mark Mead of Warners at the Bay; Mike liked her writing style, made contact and now they’re a team, with Cassie rebranding Ekim and designing the eye-catching labels.
“[When we first got in touch] she said, ‘Your website sucks and your labels suck’,” says Mike, and thus the partnership began.
As for the beer, the best places to find Ekim on tap around Sydney include Manly’s Hotel Steyne (“The licensee is very forward-thinking and took me under his wing almost two years ago”), the Forest Lodge, the Quarrymans and the newly crafty Welcome Hotel in Rozelle (“I have a great relationship with the owner Liam O'Keefe, who’s always after my beers”).
If you’re reading this in Melbourne, there is a chance to sample Ekim on tap for the first time this week. A keg of Berserker, his Amber IPA collision of mountains of malt and hops, has made it – after a few frantic calls with the courier – to The Alehouse Project for this week’s Hopfest.
“I was inspired by the Red Rocket from Bear Republic – when I drank that it was one of those moments. Lots of layers of different flavours – and that was the catalyst for the Berserker.”
But while that is the latest release, what about the very start: the name Ekim and the Viking symbology.
“We were round the Christmas table and my aunt said to me, ‘How about Ekim?’,” he says. “I didn’t get the Mike backwards for quite some time, but went back to it later. She said, ‘What’s Google and what’s Coles?’ and I got her point. Then the Nordic theme came from my [Danish] background.”
So there you have it. All you need is an aunt with ideas, a forthright blogger, a cousin of a friend of a brother-in-law’s colleague’s dad’s dog’s walker (or something like that) and a cricket writer and the road to brewing stardom opens up for you. Simple!
The photo at the top was first used in one of Peter Lalor’s articles in The Australian and was supplied by Ekim.
Kate Jordan /
The beer festival scene is booming in Australia. In a few short years, we’ve gone from next to no dedicated beer festivals to an absolute smorgasbord, with more being added every year. From November to February, there are more than a dozen major beer festivals taking place in Australia, leaving barely a weekend untouched.
This plethora of festivals is putting brewers under ever-increasing pressure, as they struggle to choose which events to allocate their (often limited) resources to. At the end of last summer, grumbles were muttered into the foam of pints and complaints raised as kegs were loaded into trucks and Utes. Questions included:
- Are there too many festivals?
- Are too many breweries losing money at them?
- Are some festivals taking too a high a cut?
As we face down the barrel of another summer packed with even more festivals, it’s time to take a fresh look at these questions. This article takes an informal look at beer festivals, their organisers and stall holders, and examines whether festivals are offering brewers enough incentive to give up their weekends and their money to promote themselves. It’s by no means a comprehensive review, but it is hoped that it will act as a springboard for other discussions.
What’s on Offer
Drawing comparisons between beer festivals is difficult – you’re not just comparing apples with oranges, but apples with the whole fruit shop. Each festival has its own system of charges and rebates, as well as a different set of proposed benefits of attendance. The cost of a stall at a medium to large beer festival can be anywhere from free to a $600 rental fee or a sizeable donation of stock. This outlay generally gets brewers a stall, table, and sometimes little else. In addition to the costs charged by the festival, there is a variety of other expenses for brewers to attend, including transport, equipment rental, and staffing. Altogether the costs to the brewer can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars as well as a significant investment of time.
In return for this investment, there are a variety of advantages proposed. Organisers contacted for this article consistently promised two main benefits from their events, both in their proposals to brewers and in response to our direct queries. They were:
Exposure to a new markets (both customers and distributors/stockists)
With craft beer expanding outwards from the major cities into the regional centres (places like Newcastle and Bendigo), festivals are introducing more punters to the variety of beers available and demonstrating to local venues the popularity and viability of good beer.
A chance to interact with the customers and build up the brewery’s brand awareness
Craft beer, like any upmarket beverage or foodstuff, is dependent upon establishing a sense of authenticity, as well as ‘educating’ the customer about their products. At beer festivals, punters can meet the people behind the beer, building up the relationship of authenticity and their knowledge of the product.
Generally speaking, these two benefits are what brewers want from a beer festival: exposure and interaction. Mark Waghorne, National Sales Manager for Mountain Goat, mentioned similar priorities. With a good foothold already in the Victoria market, Mountain Goat are now prioritising interstate festivals – skipping the local ones, such as a Beers By the Bay, Ballarat, and Bendigo, in favour of NSW and WA events. They’re looking at festivals as a means to introduce more punters to their beers. Mountain Goat also try to get a brewer along to each of these festivals to chat to the punters, with Mark stating it’s a “waste of time not talking to people” and missing the opportunity to showcase not just their product, but their people.
Exposure to new markets and brand awareness, however, are both quite ephemeral benefits. What about cold hard cash?
Direct financial returns for the brewers primarily comes in the form of tokens, the exchange of choice at the majority of beer festivals. Again, what’s on offer can vary considerably, from 66-70 per cent of the token’s value to just 30 percent. Alternatively, some festivals, such as the Tasmanian International Beerfest, operates a token system and allows brewers to sell their product – both draft and packaged – for cash, setting their own prices and determining their own profits.
Of the brewers spoken to, however, only a couple expected to make a profit from a day (or days) spent at a festival. Most expected to break even and recover their costs from the day, with Josh Uljans of Moon Dog stating they’ve “never gone to a festival to make money”. Heath Shirtcliffe of Cavalier and Jayne Lewis of Two Birds Brewing both said breaking even was their financial goal of the day.
With the aim of a festival being to increase brand awareness and later sales, the question: “Are brewers getting their money’s worth?” is difficult to accurately quantify, as we cannot tell to what extent they are succeeding. Without asking every beer purchaser in the general vicinity why they choose to buy that particular beer, putting a financial benefit on attending this festival or the next is near impossible. In this way, beer festivals are a gamble – but then what part of running a business isn’t?
The Business of Festivals
And festivals are just that: a business. Any large event, and particularly one with alcohol, racks up significant running costs. Several of the organisers spoken to commented on the surprisingly large cost of putting together a beer festival, especially first time organisers Darrell Billett (of Bendigo Craft Beer Festival) and Scott Meager (of the Williamstown Heritage Beer and Cider Festival).
Josh Uljans of Moon Dog (right) with brother Jake at this month’s Tasmanian International Beerfest
Darrell commented that when organising a beer festival, “you don’t think it’s going to cost that much, but it has….it all keeps adding up.” He noted his largest costs were the venue (the Bendigo Racecourse), marquees, generators, and local marketing, which included local television, radio, and newspaper advertising.
Scott mentioned that among his costs “the toilets – I wanted to make sure that they are a very high quality so they were a surprise….and insurance is always a killer”. All these logistical costs build up.
Often these costs are wholly unexpected. The organisers of the Small Brewers Beer Festival recently had to reshuffle their dates and venues after discovering that the only ticket provider allowed to be used for the Newcastle Showgrounds was Ticketek, who would then take 32 per cent of the ticket cost in “processing fees”. Fortunately the final contract had not been signed and a new venue was found or the event would have run at an unimaginable loss.
There are accusations that too many of these infrastructure costs are being passed along to the stallholders, at the sake of providing music, paying for celebrities, or simply so the organisers can make a larger profit. The Willoughby Craft Beer Fair makes a point of saying in its call for registrations that the fee for the stall is to “cover the costs of your marquee and related infrastructure and is not designed to generate a profit for the hotel.” Whether this is in reaction to previous complaints or something the organisers feel passionate about is left unsaid, but it’s interesting that they felt the need to say it.
One particularly outspoken brewer, who preferred not to be named, gave a regional Victorian beer festival as an example of where he thinks organisers are valuing profit over the spirit of festivals. He estimates that in addition to the site fee, the festival organisers earned thousands of dollars from his stall in token redemptions.
He concludes it’s “actually a music festival that just happens to be promoted as a beer festival. They spend a lot of money on music infrastructure and music. If they didn’t, then the ticket price wouldn’t be as high, and they wouldn’t want to take as much from brewers.” The anonymous brewer thinks too many festivals are going down this path.
Although the other brewers spoken to weren’t quite so critical, concerns were raised about the outlay of having music and other entertainment at the festivals and how much of this cost was being passed along to the brewer.
In a way, festivals are a continuation of the ongoing debate about who “genuinely” cares about the development of craft beer and who’s just “in it for the money” and taking advantage of a new trend. There’s a feeling that some beer festival organisers genuinely want to grow the craft beer scene, and help introduce brewers to more fans and vice versa, while others are just out to make a quick buck. Brewers are in disagreement as to what percentage of the organisers are in which camp, with viewpoints ranging from “they’re all bastards” to only some being involved in a “bit of a money grab”.
What is true, however, is that the good will shine through in the end – just like in brewing. The wide variety of beer festivals means brewers can now choose which ones they choose to support and which ones they’ll choose to skip. Two brewery spokespeople – Jayne of Two Birds and Health of Cavalier – mentioned that they will in future pick and choose which beer festivals they attend. Cavalier are even conducting a season’s review, booking themselves into nearly every beer festival this season, to best decide which three or four they’ll go to in the next season. Two Birds are currently flat out with all the new festivals – even with the addition of a third Bird – and on the back of a busy few months, Jayne has admitted she’ll be more choosy about which events they’ll book themselves into from now on.
With brewers having the ability to select the best beer festivals, those festivals that are “only in it for the money” will be forced to compete in the market, making their festivals either more affordable or with greater benefits. With the growth of festivals, it really has become a buyer’s market for brewers. On balance, it seems the current situation is good (or at least getting better) for the majority of brewers. They can choose the festival that best suits their needs. So long as they’re sure what their target market and goals are, they can most likely find a beer festival to suit.
With the beer festivals scene changing and growing so quickly, there are still many questions to be answered. Such as: how many craft beer festivals can each state sustain over the summer months? Or how far can a small brewery push its limited resources in such a busy schedule? Will this demanding schedule mean that festivals will become the preserve of the biggest, best-resourced breweries and brewing companies?
Only time will answer these questions. In the meantime, we all – brewers, organisers and punters – have a busy summer ahead of us.
Kate Jordan is a Kiwi beer lover (and avid knitter) now ensconced in Melbourne and can be followed on Twitter here.
For the article, Kate contacted 19 festivals of varying sizes across Australia. Almost half responded and filled in a follow up questionnaire and three responded to initial enquiries. Information on the remainder who didn’t respond was obtained via the documents they sent to potential stallholders.
Luke Robertson /
Earlier this year Asahi Premium Beverages, formerly known as Independent Distillers, bought the Cricketers Arms Lager brand and it became the basis for an attempt to enter the growing craft beer market. Now they are solidifying their plans with two new beers: an IPA and a midstrength Lager called “Mid-On”.
The new offerings are aimed at young drinkers who, according to general manager of marketing Kate Dowd, “are buying into [craft beer] as a first step so they’re not buying into mainstream or even Australian domestic beers, they are going straight into international and premium.
“What we are seeing is a consumer led decision about what is really craft beer and that’s going to be the greatest challenge that people like my team have to kind of reset our thinking on”.
And like the strong push in New Zealand with their Boundary Road brand and the recent contracts to import BrewDog and Samuel Adams, it’s clear that Asahi have strong intent in Australia.
“We have very bullish market objectives with the Cricketers Arms brand and I would suggest to you that acquisition price and investment will be in the millions before we start to see a return on that but one of the great things about working for a company like Asahi is that we don’t sell assets, we acquire, invest and develop.” Asahi Premium Beverages CEO Greg Ellery said.
“Our challenge is to say how big do you take Cricketers before it loses its sexiness, quirkiness, and the fact is we won’t take it over that level. But also in the meantime we have to use what we think is Australia’s best inventive brewer (Dermot O’Donnell former head brewer at CUB) to actually make sure we continue to have specific products that are very focused on the craft experience and what it means to drink a beer that is trying to use different ingredients.”
And they hope to use their facilities to their advantage over their smaller competitors.
“(With) really genuine and passionate craft brewers, like Dermot, if they can get access to modern plants like this they can start bringing their ideas to life but in the true craft beer sense you’ve got quite small facilities and you just can’t do much,” Ellery said.
Somewhat contradictory to that, they will be installing a pilot brewery at their Laverton plant and hope to use that to focus on more unique offerings that sit next to their ‘sessionable’ range.
“You don’t want to see the situation where you get a lot of craft products into the on-premise and then people try it and go ‘I love it but I can only drink one’ because the poor bugger who’s gone and done all the work behind the scenes, at his farm or wherever, goes ‘I didn’t get an order this month and I’ve gone and spent 200 grand on a kettle’.
“So that’s the tough part, you’ve got to get a good mixture of sessionable products within your range and your portfolio as well… so if anything, buy a six pack of Cricketers Arms Lager and you might try a special harvest of chocolate stout”, Ellery said.
As for the three launch beers, it’s new Lager that’s the pick of the three – not too sweet with a little hop character. Mid-On is as you might expect a commercial midstrength lager to be, while the IPA is designed to be “sessionable and approachable”, with biscuit, caramel and orange citrus aromas and a dry finish.
However, fans of canned beer may be disappointed that we won’t see the beers in cans, given their facility is more than capable of turning out high volumes of them, and does so for at least one other craft beer brand.
“I like reading the blurb about the fact that cans seem to be a trendy craft option. I’m mathematically trained so I’d like to see the data. We might do it as an experiment but again with Cricketers Arms Lager, our mainstream beer, we wouldn’t be changing the vessel,” he said.
Also being produced out of their Laverton plant is the cider brand Somersby, for which Asahi is taking cues from the UK market, where there is already a strong cider presence. That said, there are those who might disagree with Ellery’s assertion that:
“We think there’s a lot of crappy beers in the UK and for all of us who have been lucky enough, or unlucky enough to be there, we’ve had the chance to experience that.”
While Somersby is growing well for them, it is also eating into some of their other brands.
“It hurts us a bit because there’s a lot of Vodka Cruiser drinkers out there who are migrating to cider. So we sort of get belted around a bit on it but our commitment to quality cider and probably expanding our cider portfolio pretty soon is high,” he said.
Like much of the industry at the moment, time will tell if their beers will gain a solid foothold in the market.
It’s clear they are pushing hard but it’s also clear they are still trying to grasp just what the market is about. This will be one of the brands that will come up, like Boundary Road in NZ, in debates about what craft is. I’m not sure if they have an answer for that themselves but if they want some insight I’m sure any beer lover can recommend some of the outstanding modern British beers as research.
However, succeed or fail, it’s guaranteed this won’t be the last we hear of their ambitions in the craft space.
When asked about future acquisitions within the industry Ellery simply said: “There’s a lot in the pipeline”.
Luke Robertson is the beer lover behind Ale of a Time and a co-founder of the Pouring In… beer mapping project. He knows his beer.
Crafty Pint /
Perhaps it’s only right that, as we approach the time of year when people tend to overindulge, we find ourselves amid a glut of festive occasions. Or festivals to be precise. We’ve got three beer weeks and a handful of one-day festivals already under our collective belts for November and more to come before the month is out, while fresh news keeps coming our way.
We’ve been working on a feature looking at the explosion of craft beer festivals over the past few weeks and should be ready to publish soon. But in the meantime, the latest to land in our inbox is news of the third South West Craft Beer Festival, which is moving sites when it returns to the Margaret River region on February 22 and 23.
The 2014 festival moves from the 3 Oceans Winery to Old Broadwater Farm in Busselton, which the promoters tell us “will provide greater spacer for more guests, food, fun, entertainment, and of course, beer!”
Once again, the focus will be on showcasing the craft breweries that call the region home alongside an array of local produce. New to 2014 will be a Meet the Brewer session and a judged single batch beer competition. We’ll bring you more information as and when we have it.
Before that, however, Victorians can look forward to another one-dayer in the north. Ales on the Ovens comes to Wangaratta Showgrounds on December 7 and features a lineup of microbreweries, cider producers and winemakers. The brewers are:
Full price adults tickets cost $40pp and can be purchased here. Apologies for the late notice, but no one from the festival has made contact with us so it took a brewer and beer lover from the region to bring it to our attention.
That’s far from it for the coming months, however, with another one-day festival seeking expressions of interest from brewers yesterday. Look out for news on that event as soon as the organisers go public.
Crafty Pint /
It might be six months away, but already the biggest week for craft beer in the Australian calendar is taking shape. Good Beer Week submissions are closed and being shaped into a nine-day bonanza and now the call has gone out to brewers wanting to take part in the 2014 Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular.
As in the previous two years, this will take over the Royal Exhibition Building from May 23 to 25, combining its famous container bars featuring scores of brand new beers with a Beer Market (featuring brewer and non-brewer stalls), a Craft Beer College, food stalls and entertainment. There are a few new things planned too, but we’re pretty sure that if we told you, we’d have to kill you.
Anyway, here’s their shout out to brewers wanting to take part:
After a hugely successful event in May, the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) will be
returning to the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne next May 23 – 25, now as part of the 2014 Good Beer Week.
With a strong emphasis on innovation, education and appreciation, GABS 2013 attracted almost 12,000 people over three days. While the ‘festival beers’ and exhibitor stands at the Dan Murphy’s Beer Market were the highlights for many, others included the Matilda Bay Craft Beer College educational seminars, high quality food stalls, live entertainment and games.
With planning well underway for GABS 2014 and many exciting new ideas fermenting, the festival organisers are now putting the call out to Australian breweries to get involved by brewing a festival beer and/or booking their own exhibitor stand.
Many of the best breweries from Australia and a small number of invited international breweries
released 89 brand new festival beers at GABS 2013. Most were one-off beers while others were a new seasonal or core range beer. All were sampled for the first time ever by eager crowds at GABS. Limited extra tap spots have been made available for next year’s event and GABS is now seeking Expressions of Interest from breweries keen to offer up something new and special.
The ‘Market’ at GABS is for breweries or related businesses to showcase their products to a large
number of craft beer enthusiasts at their own exhibitor stand. In 2014, the Market will be relocated and have a changed configuration to create a more bustling environment.
Ben Kraus from Bridge Road Brewers is one brewer already signed up for GABS 2014. “GABS takes large steps towards bringing a broader audience to craft beer. The event pushes some real creativity from brewers and lifts the industry in many ways”, he says. Renowned Italian craft brewer, Leonardo di Vincenzo, from Birra del Borgo is another brewer eager to return declaring GABS “the best beer festival I’ve ever attended.”
To receive the GABS 2014 Brewery & Exhibitor Information Kit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.