New home for Great Australian Beer Festival

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Launch of the Beer Festival Johnston park. Event organisers Kieran Blood and Michael Ward with Mayor Bruce Harwood

The Great Australian Beer Festival will have a new home in 2020, with Geelong’s iconic Johnstone Park to host the event for the first time.

Now entering its eighth year in Geelong, the Great Australian Beer Festival attracts a crowd of around 5000 for an afternoon of craft beer appreciation and education, top local food and live music.

In 2019 the event featured 37 Australian breweries, including 12 from the Geelong region.

The new, central location – just a short walk from Geelong station – will offer easier access for visitors and will support CBD businesses by drawing a large crowd into the city centre.

The event, on Saturday 18 January, will see more than 200 beers and ciders on offer in the picturesque park, along with a range of interactive seminars and workshops to promote understanding and appreciation of craft beer.

It will again put Geelong’s fast-growing craft beer industry on centre stage, showcasing local brewers and promoting the region as a destination for craft beer tourism.

Johnstone Park will also be alive with music throughout the day, featuring national and local musicians, a piano bar and roving cabaret performers creating a distinct festival atmosphere.

Locally owned and managed, the event aims to attract more than 50 per cent of attendees from outside the region, making it a significant contributor to the Geelong economy.

It promotes responsible consumption of alcohol and is renowned for its well behaved crowd.

The City of Greater Geelong is a proud supporter of the event.

Greater Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood said: “The Great Australian Beer Festival plays an important part in our dynamic events calendar in that it attracts visitors who might not otherwise come to Geelong.

Just as Toast to the Coast promotes our region’s wine, this festival builds awareness of Geelong’s growing craft beer industry, showcasing our many high quality local brewers.

Johnstone Park is a much-loved location in our CBD and shapes as the perfect Great Australian Beer Festival venue, with easy access to public transport and plenty to do nearby for those wanting to continue their celebrations afterwards.”

Kieran Blood, Festival Director, Great Australian Beer Festival said: “Johnstone Park is an ideal location and we are so pleased to have this magnificent park and cultural icon entrusted to us for our eighth annual festival.

The magnificent library and historical museum and town hall make for a great backdrop, and the central proximity to the railway station is most convenient for our patrons.

While brewers will be attending from around the country, a real highlight for us is creating an event that showcases our local regional brewers to a wider audience.

This is a unique region with breweries located in urban, coastal, rural and rainforest areas and the festival is the only event where visitors can sample all of them in the one place.

GABF is about exploring, enjoying and appreciating the many styles and varieties of beers and ciders. It’s also a festival that aims to stimulate more than tastebuds and is both engaging and interactive on multiple levels.”

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