On Monday (10.08), Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) kicked off—and the show is a beast. Featuring 433 exhibitors representing 1200 brands from 40 countries, the annual event is the industry’s largest trade expo. The three day run is not nearly enough time to take it all in, but some trends were evident when the doors swung open on day one.
A quick presser, focused on the state of the industry and BCB alike, kicked off the festivities. Echoing a now familiar refrain, the significance of keeping “hospitality” in the hospitality industry was stressed. Education Director and industry personality Angus Winchester declared, “The two most important things in any bar are the people who work there and the people who are drinking there.”
Winchester also addressed the rise of social media and crowd sourced critical platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor. His belief is that these outlets are now an unavoidable element of all industries including the service sector. “You now have critics [writing online reviews] in the cab [ride home,]” he explained. “People complain about this, but you can’t ignore them; they are essentially investors.”
Representing the show’s next venture, BCB Sao Paulo, Executive VP of Reed Exhibitions Brazil Paulo Octavio Pereira de Almeida noted his agreement about the importance of social media. However, Pereira de Almeida strayed from the mainstream when he professed that the “star-tender” phenomena is not dying, but actually just getting started. He noted that looking at a sample of three of Brazil’s top rated bars on social media, “More people follow the bars than the bartenders, but I think this trend will change.”
The experts also ran down a list of the expos key features in 2018. Gin, liqueurs. and rum are the three largest categories represented on the floor. This year’s partner country, Italy, is the most represented nation.
A cursory stroll through the floor confirmed the Italian domination. Vermouths, amari, and even spirits from the Boot were bountiful.
Herbs and botanicals in their raw form were also unavoidable, thousands of vials and bowls of exotic plants and spices were passed about for sniffing. Yet, the range of exhibitors also reflected a strong move towards technology. A mere hour into the show, the Hoshizaki booth was packed. Sous vide machines, rotovaps, and smoke guns were everywhere.
A final shift was a little less prominent. Coffee and beer both boasted a vastly increased presence in the hall, drawing large crowds early at an event where cocktail is king.
Stay tuned for updates from NP as our coverage continues.