The founders of the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone have agreed a deal to sell the festival and the Hottest 100 list to media and marketing entrepreneur Mike Bray and 5th Avenue Investment Group.

Speaking to TheShout about the decision to sell GABS, Jeffares said it was an emotional day, but he is confident that Bray will take the festival forward and he is now looking forward to what he and Greenstone can now do with their Stomping Ground brewery.

“It’s an exciting but emotional day, but the event is truly in good hands. We’ve got Craig sticking around and he’s been the rock for the last few years.”

Craig is Craig Williams, the GABS Event Director and he will remain as part of the GABS team, alongside Bray with Jeffares and Greenstone offering consulting help over the next couple of years.

Jeffares added: “We’ve got to know Mike over the last six months and he convinced us that he was going to have the best interests of the event at heart. We are really excited to see what he can do, because that was one of the motivating factors to this transaction.

“With Stomping Ground demanding so much of our time, I’d been finding it difficult to explore the opportunities that we had in mind for GABS. In particular in exploring other events in Australia and taking the concept overseas. There’s an appetite for that now, so with Mike’s resources, time and direction, we are super excited to see where it can go.”

Next year sees GABS celebrate its tenth birthday in Melbourne and Bray said he was looking forward to continuing to bring craft beer lovers together at the event.

“It’s an honour to join the team as GABS prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary in Melbourne,” he said.

“We are extremely excited to continue Steve and Guy’s original vision to become one of the best beer festivals in the world. For us, GABS is about sharing our love of craft beer and cider with as many people as possible. It’s also about shining a light on this incredibly diverse industry, celebrating brewers, educating consumers and bringing them into the world of craft beer and cider.”

Jeffares added: “Guy and I have long held aspirations of taking the GABS experience to even more destinations and audiences. With Mike sharing those ambitions, our incredible team is better placed than ever before to really explore that potential.

“We will remain involved as consultants and continue to be very much connected to the event that we have poured our heart and soul into. This opportunity will now allow us to better focus on the growing demands of our burgeoning Stomping Ground brewery in Melbourne.”

Jeffares told TheShout he and Greenstone have lots of exciting things planned, but today is all about GABS.

He said: “It’s a good result, I think for everybody. But the main thing is that the event will continue to thrive under Mike’s and Craig’s direction. And that’s the most important thing to me.

“It’s a bittersweet day, but it’s as long as the event continues to make people happy on the days that it’s run, and I’ve got no reason to think of why, that’s the main thing. I’m really excited to see how it can grow and prosper even further.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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