On Monday (10.07), 14,000 industry leaders poured into Germany’s Berlin Station for the annual BCB show. The sold-out beverage and cocktail exposition boasts 446 exhibitors representing 1200 brands and 48 nations in 2018.
Keeping with protocol, the show kicked off with a presser to highlight the key elements of the massive event. BCB Event Director Petra Lassahn, Education Director Angus Winchester, and Global Rum Ambassador took point on the welcome.
The biggest takeaway from the intro talk was Bar Convent Berlin’s plans to switch locations in 2020. Next year’s show, themed ‘City Life Spirits’, will be held beneath the Funkturm at Berlin ExpoCenter City.
“This [the move] is due to a lot of construction around the SB,” explained Lassahn. “The most important thing is that we are staying Berlin.”
The new venue will allow for both more exhibitors and more visitors. The latter number is expected to top 18,000 at the new location.As far as the current year is concerned, attendees will notice an added emphasis on rum. Already, the most represented spirit (170 rums, followed by gin and liqueurs) at the show, the category received a dedicated space, “The House of Rum.”
“The sales of rums have always been there, but it hasn’t been communicated. Now, we’re getting better at that and we’re seeing lots of brands crossing borders,” said Burrell. “At the House of Rum, expect a lot of energy. A lot of fun. Rum should make you smile, rum is a fun spirit.”
This year, the rum area put a spotlight on Mauritius. “Mark my words: in the next five ten years, Mauritian rums are going to be just as popular as rums from any other place,” declared Burrell.
Spoiler Alert: Low/No Proof drinks are also an important element of the event. 20 exhibitors fall into that category. But, additionally, BCB organizers turned their eye to beverages like fizzy drinks and coffee.
“Tonic water is the biggest, but also ginger ale, ginger beer,” said Lassahn.
The education program continues to grow. Winchester explained that the 120+ sessions feature three categories: Legends, Visionaries and Experts. The agenda spans from socially conscious sessions like Stephanie Simbo’s talk on employing formerly incarcerated persons to Camper English on food safety in cocktails.
The curator noted that an underlying concept is the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants. “Every young bartender needs to remember how we got where we are now,” noted Winchester.
Of course, no trade show is complete without an attempt to look into the crystal ball and predict future trends. The three expert were in consensus, forecasting more tech and more canned, tap, and ready to drink cocktails.
Winchester added, “We are also continuing to build on the idea of our power in the social sphere. diversity and sustainability. We realized that we have a wonderful platform and are now using it.”