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SB Voices: Bigger and better Bar Convent Berlin

Amy Hopkins reflects on another excellent Bar Convent Berlin and praises the example it is setting for professionalism in bar and beverage shows.

This year, BCB was bigger and better than ever before

At 10.30am on Tuesday morning, the gates of Station Berlin were already flooded with eager bartenders, brand representatives and drinks journalists. Upon entering the venue, the atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation – and slightly hurried panic for those still putting the finishing touches to their stands. In its 11th year, Bar Convent Berlin attracted a crowd bigger than ever.

This morning, the figures were confirmed: the sold out show featured 370 exhibitors from 32 countries, 17% more than last year, while visitor numbers hit an astonishing 12,217, surpassing last year’s record by 10%. Some were left disappointed after not managing to secure a ticket, but BCB organisers were restricted by the venue’s safety regulations and, nevertheless, they claim that the cap allowed “higher quality” meetings and interactions between exhibitors and visitors.

Once again, I was struck by the diverse spread of brands and companies exhibiting at the event, with both big and small standing side by side. BCB is a fantastic place for sniffing out the latest products – I even spied the CEO of one of the world’s biggest drinks groups perusing the stands in search of the latest cutting-edge trends.

I also discovered a raft of new exciting new products and experiments; one in particular that caught my eye was a cucumber-distilled eau-de-vie. However, with a raft of meetings and interviews pre-booked, I was disappointed to miss out on the majority of BCB’s seminars.

As such, for people like myself, BCB will extend its next Berlin show to three days, allowing visitors to more fully take advantage of its packed programme. Of course, those really bitten by the BCB bug can head to the show’s first international iteration next year – Bar Convent Brooklyn.

An undeniable perk of bar and beverage shows such as BCB is the ability for visitors to sample the products being showcased. Everyone in the trade has witnessed more excitable visitors consume a little too much at bar shows, but at BCB, this seems to be a rarity. Visitors want to engage and learn, rather than freeload. Plus, free water points and plenty of delicious foods stalls play a useful part.

Congratulations BCB on another great show, and I look forward to seeing what’s in store during the new three-day format next year.

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