Strong signal from the bar industry: Visitors from almost 80 countries at the digital Global Bar Week

Solidarity in the crisis, exchange across borders, alternative paths to navigate the industry during a global pandemic and drink innovations: From October 12-18, 2020, Global Bar Week brought the bar and beverage industry together digitally across four continents. For the first time, the most important global shows in the industry, Bar Convent Berlin, BCB Brooklyn, BCB São Paulo and Imbibe Live, united to form a common platform to bring the industry together worldwide.

232 exhibitors presented themselves with virtual showrooms. Around 6,800 participants from 77 countries have so far taken advantage of the Global Bar Week and informed themselves about innovations, trends and industry best practices. The majority of the attendees came from the USA, Brazil, UK and Germany, but attendees from all parts of Europe, India, Mexico and Singapore also actively used the virtual platform.

"We are proud of what we have created together," said BCB Director Petra Lassahn at the end of the week-long event. "In an exceptional year, we have opened up new paths for the future with the digital platform. The offering was very valuable for our participants, especially in the current crisis. Digital trade fairs cannot replace live shows, but this year they have given us the opportunity to come together as an industry, across all countries and continents, despite the pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the USA, Brazil and the UK for their collaboration. Together we have kept the drinks industry’s spirit alive,” Petra continues.

Digital networking

This year's Global Bar Week had many benefits for the industry - as a forum for exchange, a top-level educational programme, a think tank and innovative show. Matchmaking, a kind of dating platform for business, was an important tool for the participants. A total of around 1,000 one-to-one video meetings took place on the platform. In addition, visitors and exhibitors had the opportunity to exchange contact details and generate leads in the brand portal.

Content from top speakers  

Education traditionally plays an important role at both BCB and Imbibe Live, and this year is no exception. In total, the programme was viewed for nearly 3,000 hours. There were around 150 sessions and panel discussions to choose from: topics ranged from coronavirus to social issues, from bartending to bar business.

The particularly sought-after contents ranged from spirits and comsumption trends to drink and menu design, a look behind the scenes of bars from all over the world and basic knowledge, such as the "History of cocktails in 30 drinks". Also in demand were the lectures "How to become the best bartender in the world," “No & Low Aperitif” or the “AeroPress preparation of coffee”.

“We built a robust and useful digital meeting place and lecture hall that provided practical, inspiring and relevant education for our vast and diverse community”, said BCB Director of Education, Angus Winchester. “Feedback has been amazing and the extension of the education programme means more time to explore new topics, hear new voices and opinions and continue to move forward to the new normal. I thank all speakers who shared their experiences with us.”

“As the hospitality industry continues to suffer the effects of the global pandemic, Global Bar Week was a much-needed opportunity to hear diverse perspectives and insights from the industry’s innovative thinkers,” reflected Emily Impey, Content Manager for Imbibe Live. “It was the perfect platform to address the business critical issues that the on-trade are currently facing, look at the trends defining the future of the industry, and reflect on industry defining issues such sustainability and diversity and inclusion.”

The programme will be available on the Global Bar Week platform until October 25. Complimentary registration is still available on all four event websites.

The next Bar Convent Brooklyn will take place at the Brooklyn Expo Center in June 2021. The BCB São Paulo will take place on 14 and 15 June 2021. The next Imbibe Live will be taking place on 5 & 6 July 2021, Olympia London. And the next Bar Convent Berlin will take place from 11 to 13 October 2021 at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

Participants' voices:

"We were very excited about the first purely digital BCB - under the given circumstances the right and only alternative for an exchange within the bar scene. As one of the sponsors, we are pleased that we were able to contribute to the implementation of the new concept and are satisfied with how we were represented with our brands and were able to use the digital BCB as a platform - especially for the presentation of our new product FORDS GIN.
Nevertheless, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the next BCB can take place live in Berlin again". 
Daniela Rücker, Trade Marketing Manager, BROWN-FORMAN Germany

“Speaking at Imbibe Live Online was a great way to shine a light on sustainable practises for businesses. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share some of our insights from Speak in Code during Global Bar Week and I hope that the people watching could take away some positive and practical solutions to an important challenge.”
Nathan Larkin, Founder, Speak in Code

"I think it is absolutely the right sign for the industry and our scene that the fair took place despite the situation. What particularly impressed me is that all content was made available free of charge to all visitors. Chapeau! for that and I hope that we can physically meet again next year in Berlin." 
René Tempel, Advocacy Manager D/A/CH, BACARDI GMBH

“Making a video for the show with my colleague Sarah was a powerful journey, as we hadn't done anything like it before. To be honest, I did not expect the digital expirience to hold up with real BCB, but once the platform got going, I was very glad that I had gotten myself access this vast display of presentations. I specificly enjoyed not having to miss a single one that I was interested in, having no distractions while watching aswell as being flexible in when to watch. I'm not at BCB for the party, but education. And this was education at its finest.”
Ruben Neideck, Velvet

“I entered into Global Bar Week as the owner of an underground Cocktail Speakeasy looking to expand my portfolio of represented spirits for interested drinkers and I really didn’t know what to expect from it. So far I've spoken to producers in five different countries on three different continents and all of them want me to represent their product at my cocktail experience. And this is only day two. Huzzah, GBW!”
Matt Levy, Owner, Covert Cocktail Club (@covertcocktailclub)