This week, the 2018 Nightclub and Bar Show returned to Las Vegas. In the wake of Tales uncertainty, the annual Nevada conference only grew with an added emphasis on familiar elements like seminars and a nod towards the craft cocktail world. NP chatted with Stefan Huebner (Dot Dot Dot) about the takeaways from the big show.
Huebner reported a great turnout at the conference. Although an expansion in scope from previous years was clear, he noted that the primary focus remained on nightclubs, tourist-style bars, and other volume establishments.
Despite several added seminars geared towards fine dining and craft cocktails, the trade show still seemed targeted at bar owners and managers. Accordingly, the best items on the floor skewed were products like ID scanners, bar equipment, coasters, and inventory control. The offerings were a a little thin at times, with items like barstools and liquor scarce.
On The Floor
The trade floor opened on the second day of the conference. Amidst hundreds of booths, the Perlick showing really stood out. The highlight of their display was indisputably the Tobin Ellis Signature appliance line.
Designed by Ellis, an a-list name on the celebrity bartender circuit and the proprietor behind BarMagic of Las Vegas, the sample stations were a bartender’s dream.
The set-up comes came complete with a tap system designed specifically for batched cocktails. A circulation pump keeps the kegged cocktail well mixed (and it can even be set on timer.) The speed rails are rounded for ergonomics, the wells are insulated, and the fruit trays sit in refrigerated drawers. Even the sinks are pretty sweet boasting sound deadening panels, foot-pedal operation, a high end glass-rinser, and a very cool caddy for bar tools.
— Perlick Commercial (@Perlick) March 28, 2018
Shake It Up
A couple few competitions staged national finals at NVB under the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Shake It Up umbrella. Shake It Up’s Flair and Classic categories served as qualifiers for the IBA World Cocktail Championship. Ryan Clark (Las Vegas) will advance to IBA World in Estonia for flair. Seongha Lee (Las Vegas) will join him as the victor in the Classic field.
Justin Park (Hawaii) took second in Classic and Will Isaza (Boston) Flair. They will both head to Cuba to compete in the IBA Panamerican Cocktail Competition. Nathaniel Smith (Indianapolis) was awarded Best Technical which earns him a trip to the Mattoni Grand Drink Competition in the Czech Republic.
Ram Ong (New York) place third in Flair and Jarmel Doss (Chicago) took third in Classic.
Charlotte Voissey (William Grant & Sons, Director of Brand Advocacy) presented a a popular class about Scotch’s expansion around the world.
Bob Peters social media class also garnered accolades from attendees.
However, Megan Breier stole the show. Her “Oink & Barrel” talk focused on pairing delicious skewers of ham from different terrors with Knob Creek bourbon. Attendees were wowed by Breier’s encyclopedic knowledge of the matter (Did you know that there is an “American Ham Belt” which includes whiskey country?) and of course, there was sweet, sweet ham.