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Vinexpo considers ‘spin-off’ spirits show

Trade fair Vinexpo could launch a dedicated spirits show in 2021 if all goes well at the inaugural Paris event next year, its new CEO has said.

Rodolphe Lameyse, CEO of Vinexpo

Speaking to The Spirits Business in London last week, Rodolphe Lameyse, who was appointed CEO of Vinexpo in April this year following the departure of Guillaume Deglise, said spirits would become a greater focus for fair.

At Vinexpo Paris, which will take place at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles from 10-12 February 2020, there will be a dedicated spirits zone, called Be Spirits – the first area specifically for spirits in Vinexpo’s history.

Described as a “show within a show”, Be Spirits will host The Infinite Bar, which will showcase 24 spirits brands in partnership with 24 bartenders from Paris venues.

“We believe we are able to compete and build a platform for spirits,” Lameyse told The Spirits Business. “Paris is the first time we will create a zone within the show fully dedicated to spirits; it’s not going to be in the corner for Cognac.

“We will have many different brands. It’s all about experience. Again, all the spirits that will be used behind [The Infinite Bar], they will be available in the bars themselves in Paris after the show.”

If Be Spirits proves to be a hit and in demand from attendees, Lameyse said he would be open to creating a dedicated “spin-off” show just for spirits.

“We will make more and more room [for spirits], and I hope there’s going to be positive feedback from the industry,” he added. “If there’s an opportunity to have a spin-off show for spirits, that is something we will look at.

“I would be tempted to launch [a spirits show] in Paris because there’s critical mass. So let’s do Vinexpo properly in Paris first, see what we can improve, and see what’s the impact. We could have a Vinexpo Paris Spirits show.”

Vinexpo Paris is due to become an annual addition to the Vinexpo line-up, which includes shows in Bordeaux, Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York.

Vinexpo Bordeaux

Lameyse also revealed details of Vinexpo Bordeaux, the biennial fair that will return in June 2021. The CEO has implemented a “radical new strategy” for the show following a 30% decline in visitors and exhibitors at the 2019 event.

Vinexpo Bordeaux will continue to take place every two years as usual, with a revamped offering.

The show is usually held at the Bordeaux Exhibition Centre on the outskirts of the city. However, following feedback from attendees, the show will be moved to the centre of Bordeaux in 2021.

“Vinexpo Bordeaux is not dead,” Lameyse insisted. “But Vinexpo Bordeaux as you used to know it is over. There will be something absolutely different in Bordeaux, and something very exciting.

“I am not looking for huge, big shows of 70,000 sq m in general. What I consider important is the positioning – what is Vinexpo compared to any alternative on the market? It’s premium, but premium doesn’t mean elitist.”

“The optimum size for Bordeaux would be around 30,000 sq m,” he added, explaining the 2019 show covered 18,000 sq m, down from around 24,000 sq m in 2017.

The Paris show will cover 24,000 sq m of floor space, split around 60/40 between Wine Paris, which has partnered with Vinexpo on the event, and Vinexpo itself.

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