Unlimited Beer Festival – Don’t Give these Scammers Your Money

I got an email yesterday, about a new beer festival.

This email stood out for how poor it was.

Hi there,

We’re thrilled to extend an invitation for you to participate in this exciting event, happening on Saturday, August 3, at 12:00pm AEST at PICA in Melbourne, VIC.

The Unlimited Beer Festival promises to be an unforgettable experience, uniting beer lovers from across the region for a day brimming with endless beer tasting, live music, and a vibrant atmosphere. With over 25 beer tents offering unlimited samples of the finest brews, attendees will have the opportunity to savor a diverse range of craft ales, hoppy IPAs, and much more.

Early bird tickets are now available starting from just $20, offering fantastic value for a day filled with beer, music, and fun. You can find more information and purchase tickets here.

Of course we are happy to offer you some free tickets – please get in touch for details. We look forward to welcoming you to the Unlimited Beer Festival and celebrating the craft of brewing together.


Unlimited Beer Festival 



The first problem, is that there is no way you can have a beer festival called “unlimited” and have licensing sign off. Making it the central, and only real theme of an event is a sure fire way to get that event cancelled before it even begins.

I clicked the link to learn more but it was broken because they forgot to tidy up the chatgpt part of their AI generated text (click that link above and see for yourself). Once I navigated to the correct link I found a page for a beer festival that was as low effort as they come. Stock images and even fake reviews for an event that hasn’t happened:


“Thoroughly enjoyed sampling the diverse range of beers while soaking in the live music.”

Danny J.


“Highly recommended! The music was fantastic, the atmosphere was lively, and the beer selection was superb!”

Darragh E.


Suss as.

After more digging I learned the guy who sent the email, James Farrell, works for a company called Viral Group. Along with Aden Levin, they are the dudes behind Viral Ventures, the company that launched those trash Karen’s Diner restaurants and pop ups that got heaps of publicity because they came along at a time where calling someone a “karen” was at the peak of comedy. The whole idea was you’d go to one of these and people would insult you, and you’d complain, and everyone would have a good time. Except they didn’t institute any mechanism for quality control – and creating a toxic environment and insulting people in an actually fun way is incredibly difficult –  so they just got a heap of complaints. I guess that’s irony?

Anyway, it went bust and ripped off a heap of people around the world in the process. It does seem to be still going in some form or another. I don’t know if they are involved and honestly I’ve already given too much of my brain over to thinking about it. I’m here to talk about their beer festival.

Since then Viral Group/Viral Ventures/Explore Hidden (and a few associated names) has morphed into doing a string of pop ups around the world. All as lazy and trash as Karen’s Diner. Some look like they’ve gone ahead, specifically the Alice in Wonderland themed cocktail nights. For the most part, however, they’ve just succeeded in ripping people off, cancelling events (that don’t seem to have existed in the first place) and keeping everyone’s cash.

This from Facebook:


Here are pics from one event that went ahead… Expectation vs Reality:

(Via instagram)

Narcity.com has a great rundown of a few other bait-n-switch scams they’ve done. Including this quote: “They are so immoral and have to be stopped”.  The Pittsburgh City Paper also has a detailed tear-down of the operation:

Some other complaints about the group (under the Explore Hidden banner) can be found in a bunch of Reddit threads. This one is titled “Hidden Pittsburgh is a scam

Yeah we got suckered by this. My 5 yo had fun but I was convinced we were going to get food poisoning. It seriously was a bad birthday party with awful food.

I talked to the staff at the brewery hosting and it sounds like this got foisted on them with like 3 days notice. I felt reallly bad for them. Idk the business model, but my guess is hidden Pittsburgh sells tickets for event concepts (prior to an actual event getting planned) and then finds someone local willing to host to get a cut of ticket sales. It s a total scam.

And in this thread here:


Anyway, tickets for this festival are on sale now. I’ve replied to the email with questions about it, but had no response. They also have a PR email attached which is as shady as the rest of the operation. Here’s the text from the about page:


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James and Aden should be ashamed of what they do. Their events and pop ups need to be shouted down at any sign of them appearing. They are preying on families, staff, and businesses and escaping with the loot. There’s a lot of awful stuff in the world right now, don’t let these guys make it worse.

Update: PICA, the venue, has confirmed via email (sighted by me, but not sent to me) this event won’t be taking place at their location.


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