While mainstream beer sales continue to decline at a rapid rate, an event celebrating craft breweries is hopping to new heights.
Recent statistics by Roy Morgan show for the first time on record the number of Australian adults consuming craft beer in an average four-week period has increased to more than one million, defying the downward trend of mainstream beer which has dropped by almost 32 per cent in the same period*.
Passionate advocates of craft beer, former documentary filmmaker Steve Jeffares and actor Guy Greenstone, began running educational events at their multi-award winning specialty beer venue, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda, some seven years ago when the industry was still in its infancy.
The community embraced the concept so much they re-created their idea at their Darlinghurst venue in Sydney one year later.
The result was phenomenal with people lined up outside to be part of the events, so several years later, the pair challenged the best brewers in Australia to create a new beer they had never brewed before for a unique event at both Taphouses, with nothing off limits.
The idea was a hit and in 2012, the inaugural Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) was moved to Melbourne’s historic Royal Exhibition Building where sixty brewers created beers specifically for the event, and some 11,000 people attended.
This year GABS will see more than 300 beers from 150 Australian and international breweries showcased, of which 120 are brewed specifically for the event – and for the first time, a one-day event will be held in Sydney, as well as the Melbourne event.
Steve Jeffares says there’s no limit to what breweries can create.
“Breweries can submit any beer they like as long as they’ve never brewed it before. Some choose to brew in a traditional style, perhaps with a twist, while others use exotic ingredients and brewing processes to come up with something very creative.
“This year we have one-off beers being made including oysters, orange peel, coriander seeds, finger limes, peaches, cherries, truffles, chocolate, biscuits, split peas, pineapple, coconut, vodka and a beer which will taste like banoffee pie.”
Steve says there has been a greater emphasis this year on food at the event and they’ve launched an app where visitors can match some great pop-up foods showcased at the event to a beer.
“We have partnered with some leading restaurants including Three Blue Ducks, Cornersmith, Veggie Patch and LP Meats in Sydney; and Uncle, Milk the Cow, Huxtaburger, Mr Claws and Meat Mother in Melbourne and we’ll be making beer pairing suggestions for all the dishes with our brand new official app which we believe will really enhance the beer and food experience.”
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