The bar scene is looking to Berlin: BCB in starting blocks
František Prošek at the booth of Campari
- 1,200 brands to showcase the innovative power of the industry
- Exhibitors from approximately 40 countries
- Key topics include sustainability, creativity and professionalisation
The bar community will be looking to Berlin this October when the BCB will once again bring the most important producers, hottest brands, bar operators and bartenders from around the world to the German capital. Some 14,000 expected visitors, more than 1,200 brands and over 400 exhibitors from about 40 countries as well as numerous bar events will turn Berlin into the metropolis for bar culture for three days. From bartending as haute cuisine to the professionalisation of employees to the ecological footprint of bars – a diverse range of themes will be covered at the Bar Convent. For the first time, the trade show will take place for three days at Station Berlin and the adjacent Kühlhaus from 8 to 10 October.
From appearance to substance
The industry isn’t moved just by product innovations, new creations and concepts; topics such as sustainability and the influence of social media play a big role, too. Bar Convent Berlin offers guidance in this area – be it at the stands of exhibitors or in the presentation programme. In the Instagram era, creative action is in vogue. More and more, appearance is joining taste as an important factor. Frankie Solarik, Joe Schofield and Micah Melton are some of the leading experts in this field of perfection. Many bars are gearing their marketing towards social media, where it’s key for cocktails to be photogenic. “Stepping Up Your Social Media Game” is the title of a presentation by James Stevenson and Natalie Migliarini, whose aim it is to share valuable tips with Bar Convent visitors on how to create a sophisticated marketing concept in social media. With Beautiful Booze, the pair run a successful bartender portal with more than 78,000 subscribers on Instagram.
Everyone is talking about sustainability, and it’s about much more than just avoiding straws. In the BCB presentation programme, bartenders Claire Sprouse and Chad Arnholt will talk about all the ways of saving water in bars, whether it’s making ice, washing dishes or in drinks. On 10 October, they’ll appear at the BCB at 12:00 pm to show bartenders how they can do their part to conserve water – for the benefit of the environment and their water bill. The native Texan Claire Sprouse and Chad Arnholt co-founded the Tin Roof Drink Community in New York City. Their goal is to create a culture of dialogue focussed on sustainability and green bar initiatives in the cocktail industry. Sustainability plays an important role in the production of spirits, as well. After all, traceability and ecological footprint are key arguments for consumers. Pernod SAS will share insights into their handling of the issue at 1:15 pm on Wednesday. Absolut Vodka, Chase Vodka and Portobello Road Gin will get together to discuss agricultural and economic sustainability. Among other topics, their focus will be on the benefits and challenges of one-stop production and sustainability standards when awarding contracts.
The notion that hospitality is a teachable skill is becoming increasingly prominent, making education and training of staff paramount. Oron Lerner will explore creative hospitality at the Bar Convent Berlin. That concept is all about making guests feel comfortable, give them a sense of belonging and enable them to take home a personal experience.
Visionary and tailored: The BCB presentation programme
Moreover, the BCB will delight visitors with eight stages filled with numerous lectures, seminars and tastings for all target audiences. Highlights include the presentations by Bobby Heugel and Sean Finter on the Main Stage in Hall 5 of the BCB, which will explore the habits of successful bar operators.
Joe Schofield, the reigning “International Bartender of The Year”, can be heard on the Mixology Main Stage on the BCB Tuesday in a talk that’s all about the creative process. Bartenders should also be sure not to miss Frankie Solarik and Micah Melton, who hail from what are probably two of the most creative bars worldwide: BarChef and the Aviary NYC, respectively. Addressing the physical health of bartenders will be Pilates coach Marcia Polas on Monday and Tim Judge and Claire Warner in their lecture “How to be a Better Bartender” on Wednesday.
Another must-see for visitors is Nick Strangeway, who’s been behind the bar since the early 1990s. Since that time, he’s received numerous awards, crowned by Tales of the Cocktail’s “International Mixologist of the Year” in 2008. He can be seen at the BCB on Monday and Tuesday, sharing insights into the development of new varieties of rum.
Of particular value to brand owners will be the presentation by David Gluckman, who has been in the beverage business for more than 40 years and who’ll be at the Bar Convent Berlin to talk about his book That Sh*t Will Never Sell and the nature of brand innovations. Charles Rolls, the co-founder of Fever-Tree, knows how to make brands more powerful, too. In “From Gin to Tonic”, his joint lecture with Simon Ford on the Mixology Main Stage on the BCB Wednesday, he’ll describe the challenge of turning an idea into a business success and talk about insights, inspirations, risks, successes and failures.
Visitors should also be sure to catch the numerous tastings at the Taste Forums. One of the BCB’s partners this year, Wine & Spirit Education Trust will bring exciting products to the forums on every day of the show. Topics will include “World Whisk(e)y”, “Rum Explored”, “Vodka – Not so Neutral” and “Gin: Past to Future”.
Loft and Kühlhaus
The adjacent Kühlhaus and the Lofts might not be part of the BCB exhibition halls at Station Berlin, but they’re must-see venues nevertheless. “The Diageo World Class Celebration of Senses” is the motto of a festival of the senses staged at the Kühlhaus by the trade show’s largest exhibitor. On this 1,800-square-metre-large playground, guests won’t just find delectable first-rate cocktails paired with food, art, workshops and talks, they’ll also get to experience the trends of tomorrow presented by international giants of the bar scene. Also worth a visit is the exhibition stand of Infarm, a company that deploys intelligent and modular urban farms to bring plants directly from the farm to the plate – or to the cocktail glass, as the case may be. Their stand will be located in the basement. In addition, the Lofts right next to the Kühlhaus will feature Beam Suntory Deutschland with such brands as Maker's Mark, Roku, Sipsmith and Toki.
Variety and quality “Made in GSA”
“Aureum” is the name of the winning drink in this year’s “Made in GSA Competition”, which highlights spirits and beverages from the German-speaking world and which has grown into one of the bar community’s most important cocktail competitions. This year’s overall winner, Martin Bornemann, will present his winning concoction at the BCB. The “Made in GSA” area in Hall 7.2 gives local manufacturers a chance to present themselves. Visitors can look forward to about 100 products from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, all of which they can sample under the guidance of experienced bartenders. At the Mixology Taste Forum in the same hall, Oliver Steffen will present German product highlights at 12 pm and international ones at 3 pm daily. The Ginthusiast® will then present his personal favourites in intimate talks in a small-group setting.
He was active in the restaurant business in the 1990s. Even though his time at the bar has come to an end, he has never really been able to leave the restaurant industry behind. With the founding of the blog Trinklaune, he rekindled this old interest once more. Among other things, he currently works in restaurant consulting and offers gin and tonic tastings under the Ginthusiast® moniker.
Beyond spirits: Brew Berlin and Coffee Convent
The integration of beers and coffee specialties in the product selection of bars – either as standalone beverages or to enrich cocktail creations – will also be key themes at the BCB. Brew Berlin and the Coffee Convent will present a wealth of new products and ideas to visitors.
Brew Berlin stands for the creative brewery scene, whether it’s straight from the emerging beer community in Berlin or the international marketplace of beers. Here, restaurateurs will find out how the new diversity of beers can become the USP for their business and what they should consider when putting together their selection. Tastings will guide attendees through the most important beer styles and show restaurateurs the ideal way to use each individual beer specialty.
From brewed coffee to espresso to coffee cocktails, the Coffee Convent Berlin will present the theme of “Coffee in Bars” in all its diverse glory. Top trends this year are nitro and cold brew. Traditional coffee greats and young speciality roasters will introduce different cold brew varieties: Lavazza will have the “Coffeetail Spritz”, Röststätte Berlin the premium coffee liqueur “Cold Brew X”, Fortezza the twelve-hour cold brew “Cold Black Nitro” and Melitta the coffee lemonade “ffeel”. Experience not one but three versions of the new coffee trend at Philosoffee’s stand and Berliner Kaffeerösterei will send one of Germany’s best bartenders, Atalay Aktas, to the BCB to create a “Cold Brew Coffee Cocktail” live onsite. Lots of additional coffee knowledge will be shared in the supporting programme. Developed in cooperation with Berliner Kaffeerösterei, it gives bar operators and bartenders ideas for identifying the right coffee for their bar and their cocktail creations.
The official water partner of the BCB this year is Aqua Morelli. Free water bottles for visitors to enjoy will be available in all exhibition halls.
About the Bar Convent Berlin
Since its founding in 2007, the Bar Convent Berlin has emerged as one of the leading international trade shows for the bar and beverage industry. Every October, the who’s who of the German and European bar and beverage industry meet in Berlin to establish new contacts, catch up on the latest product innovations and attend education seminars. Launched in 2013, Brew Berlin adds a beer-in-bars platform to the Bar Convent Berlin. The Coffee Convent Berlin, which made its debut in 2017, puts the focus on coffee in bars. In 2018, the trade show will take place at Station Berlin and at the Kühlhaus from 8 to 10 October – for the first time as a three-day event. About 14,000 trade visitors are expected to attend.
Press release [doc l 364 kb]
Photo: František Prošek at the booth of Campari (Credit: Bar Convent Berlin) [jpg l 1.6 mb]