So without sounding like a bad science fiction novel the major problems when curating the education program for BCB are Time and Space. Time in terms of only have 8 hours a day to try and highlight the key trends and people in such a vast, vibrant and diverse global industry and Space in terms of bringing the key players from the four corners of the globe and cramming them into 5 stages while competing with the multitude of stands and the alluring opportunity to catch up with friends and key industry figures. And of course Money is an issue too but when is it ever not.
But while the Pandemic rages horribly on and has caused so much dislocation and uncertainty for our industry the one silver lining (as one desperately looks for one) has been that Time and Space have effectively been eliminated. While we have been locked down at home or locked out of our bars the digital world has provided us with much needed connection, education and inspiration and so as BCB goes digital so we aim to continue that trend and lean in to it and further eliminate Time and Space.
This years ‘show’ is bigger than ever with seven days planned (some would say that the real world show is that big that seven days would be needed to see everything and meet everyone but still) and free registration that effectively opens it up to the whole industry regardless of physical location or economics. This is a chance to ‘speak’ to the whole world that is desperate to be doing something positive by setting up a digital library of education sessions pulled from the four corners of the globe 24 hours a day for seven days. For an Education Director this is the chance of a lifetime and I aim to grasp it with both hands.
While we are all very well aware of Zoom and live streaming (and not always happily aware) our plan is to pre-record the majority of our sessions in order both to minimise the chance of poor technology and internet connections spoiling things but also to reduce the need to wake up a ungodly hour or have to choose between activities. You can see the education you want to see when you want to see it. And you can look at the whole education program each day and merely watch the session you want to see at your convenience. Plus of course watch it again as many times as you need.
And what a program we have planned! Without going into detail it entails some of the most revered and influential speakers on the planet speaking from the whole world. It reflects the stunning diversity of our industry in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation that matches the society we live in and serve as well as the diversity. It includes vital topics from amazing Covid 19 responses to social justice issues and more esoteric and geeky topics to amaze and inspire as well as solid presentations to educate at every level. New voices. Old experiences from around the world. A combination of invited speakers and the best seminars submitted via our website.
And while many of us may be unable to travel to Berlin we aim to continue to support bars and restaurants where you are by having a group of Virtual Tasting hubs where trade and consumers can gather safely and watch virtual tasting run in conjunction with our education partner WSET and their array of experts. Also we aim to revolutionise the sessions where bar owners and managers would share their passion for their own bars and now have a virtual walk through of key bars around the world with said managers guiding us through their spaces and ideas pointing out what makes them so special and proud.
And of course we will be working with our brand partners and exhibitors to facilitate their sponsored education in dedicated areas to allow you to continue to reconnect with new products and see ongoing programs from your favourite liquids and new brands – always a key element of BCB.
The pandemic is awful. It has disrupted life in an unimaginable way for all of us from small independent bar to large multinational corporation. But the hospitality industry is renowned for coping and adapting and continuing to support their guests in whatever way they can and BCB is no different. Time and space has been eliminated and the future is coming and we are ready to help you