What? Is it Christmas already? It is in Berlin! Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) — lovingly referred to as “Bartenders’ Christmas” — is celebrating its birthday, and guests arrived from around the world to attend the largest BCB of all time. With a total of 317 exhibitors — almost 20% more than last year — and 11,064 trade visitors — a plus of 15% — BCB set new historical records. The start-up that began in 2007 with only eight exhibitors in Berlin’s “Glashaus” has meanwhile become Europe’s leading premium trade show for the bar and beverage industry. Half of the exhibitors and visitors alike travel to Berlin from foreign countries, and almost 10% of them come from overseas — also a record. A special focus this year was on Great Britain as a BCB partner country.
While the title “Europe’s No. 1” describes that which takes place on these two days at BCB and throughout Berlin in a beautifully catchy manner, it is rather imprecise. Some may ask if anyone of note is serving cocktails at all in Paris or London currently, since all of the bar stars seem to be here in Berlin. And not only from those cities — bartenders came from Singapore, New York, Tokyo and Sydney to be here when international greats such as Ian Burrell, Phil Duff, Alex Kratena, Salvatore Calabrese and Dale DeGroff share insights into their creations and their skills. At BCB, “cocktail is king” is always accompanied by “content is king”, with an extensive programme of lectures, seminars, master classes, and of course tastings.
And there were plenty of opportunities: the 317 exhibitors from 28 countries had more than 900 brands up their sleeves, including leading spirit, champagne, and soft drink brands such as Campari, Borco, Brown Forman, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, Jägermeister, Beam, Schweppes, Ilva di Saronno and Team Spirit. Of course there were also plenty of young, bold varieties, as well as the rapidly growing selection of craft beers, displayed at the Brew Berlin area, which has doubled in size since last year. Carlsberg, Ratsherrn and Stone Brewing exhibited here, among others.
“BCB brings together that which belongs together — content for the bartender community and business for the beverage and spirits industry. The combination of these two elements is what makes BCB so successful,” summarizes BCB Director, Petra Lassahn. A mixture that proves to be very popular and is rapidly gaining ground internationally. This is also palpable at the stands, especially those of the big brands. The same goes for the visitors. Although bar owners and bartenders form the majority, one-fifth of BCB customers are meanwhile from the beverage and spirits industry, or are wholesalers or distributors. The Global Drinks Forum plays an important role here. This conference took place for the first time this year, bringing roughly 100 international contributors and experts from the spirits industry together on the day before BCB.
“A harmonious blend of business and information has been the DNA of our success for ten years,” exclaims Helmut Adam, one of the three co-founders of Bar Convent. “The partnership with Reed Exhibitions, which began last year, is also an important factor and has once again had a very positive effect. In the course of a decade, Bar Convent has become an essential event for the industry.”
BCB 2017 with additional halls
From 170 to 317 exhibitors — the number of companies that are exhibiting at BCB has almost doubled in just the past two years. The most obvious sign of this incredible momentum was the inclusion of hall 5, which happened for the first time this year. And all signs point to continued growth in 2017. With the addition of hall 1 to the existing space, Station Berlin’s entire grounds will be occupied.
The upcoming Bar Convent Berlin will take place on 10 and 11 October 2017 at Station Berlin.
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