I went to the Saturday afternoon session of SpecTAPular to try a beer or three, the post of the beer side of my session is still being worked on.
The event was held at Redfern, I thought it was to be at the “Carriageworks,” the same location as last years “Sip and Savour” but it was  at the exhibition  hall on the other side of the tracks. That’s what happens when you don’t read the instructions properly. I did eventually find my way there.
While I suppose it was a sell out it wasn’t too crowded to move around, I was always able to get a seat at a table though sometimes the tables where awash with spilled beer, and the queues for beers where never so long to be irritating and the staff/volunteers where generally goodo though there was one acceptation to that. I was at the counter of one of the section, my turn next but the large girthed bearded ponytailed bloke behind the counter passed over me in favour of the young lady behind me, once is allowable but he did it again with the next young lass so I was forced to make my feelings known. Section 60 to 69 if I remember correctly.
I think the food court needs a re think, for a start from what I could see everything was on the wrong side of very expensive, I first tried Mary’s for a burger but the staff all seemed to standing around drinking beer and not a lot was happening on the serving front, ( maybe they had run out) ( and I did stand behind the same man in a beer queue half an hour or so),
After a long wait in line I bought a couple of sausages on rolls, while the food was good and they where big fat sausages, maybe even gourmet sausages  at 8 dollars for a sausage sizzle it would want to be fantastic.  
I had a bit of trouble finding some stands that, while numbered on the map in the program, I couldn’t find corresponding numbers on the actually stands. I ho0e next year they fix that . 
I expect these events to be expensive, I expected to spend about what I did, so it might not be unreasonable to expect them to be run a bit more efficiently. Having paid the asking price for the tokens I was more than peeved that, when it came time to call for last drinks I was left with about twenty dollars worth of tokens but was unable to cash them in so was forced to hurriedly spend them or throw them away. I was able to get a refund for unused tokens Last year at Beervana NZ why not at Sydney GABS?
This post is not really meant to be one long whinge, and  I will probably go if there is one held next year, I did have a good afternoon there, there was definitely no shortage of beer choice, and after all is said and done I go for the beer, here’s hoping the organisers continue to raise the benchmarks.     
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2 Responses to SYDNEY GABS AS I SAW IT

  1. Hi there,

    The feedback we have received so far about the first GABS Sydney has been extremely good so we’re sorry you didn’t you particular enjoy your experience. I will endeavour to address some of your points below..

    FOOD – we spoke with the Mary’s guys when we heard they were drinking at their stand. While all vendors were told to expect large numbers of people at GABS, a few didn’t heed this warning and sold out (or certainly too early), limiting options and putting unfair pressure on the remaining vendors like Mary’s and the Taphouse. NEXT YEAR: There will be more, and perhaps different, vendors offering more variety and prices. We will look at pricing to ensure there is a range of prices (as there was at GABS Melbourne).

    CLEANING – There are a small army of cleaners working at GABS but it still remains hard to keep on top of clearing/wiping tables although we do our best.

    TOKENS – Each token clearly had ‘non refundable’ printed on them. Several announcements were made over the PA given people 15 mins before the bars closed and reminding them that tokens were not refundable. The merchandise stand was also opened 15 mins longer than the bar for people who wanted to use leftover tokens. Beervana used a e-wristband system for the first time last year but had enormous problems with them that caused slow customer service at the bars. There is no perfect solution. NEXT YEAR: We may go to e-wristbands.. If not, we will put very clear signage at the point of purchase to remind people that they should only buy tokens they intend spending. Processing refunds for a very large number of people is inefficient.

    STAFF – GABS relies heavily on volunteers to work the Container Bars and we can’t unfortunately eliminate every instance like the one you unfortunately experienced. That said, we do make notes on volunteers to try and ensure only that each subsequent year we build a better volunteer workforce.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Steve (GABS)

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