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Bar Convent Berlin heads online for 2020 event

On-trade show Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) will host its 2020 event this autumn in a digital format due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Visitor numbers were a record high at BCB last year, topping 15,000 for the first time

Organised by Reed Exhibitions, the event will not take place as originally planned at exhibition centre Messe Berlin on 12 to 14 October.

The decision was made following a new law passed by the Berlin Senate on 21 April 2020 banning all large events due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The measure forbids all large gatherings in Berlin with more than 5,000 participants until 24 October 2020.

Instead, the 2020 show will be known as a ‘BCB Special Edition’ and the team is currently working with its partners on an alternative concept, called ‘Pouring Digital’, which will focus on combining live and online events.

“We are aware of our responsibility, as a trade fair that unites many thousands of people in one place, but also as part of a globally networked bar scene,” said BCB director Petra Lassahn.

“A bar scene that is possibly facing its greatest challenge ever. So we will be offering an alternative event format in the autumn. If our exhibitors and visitors can’t come to us, then we will go to them.”

In addition, BCB will look at how bars can be involved in the event. BCB said that many of its exhibitors “wanted an alternative, a place where they can exchange ideas and get together, especially in these times of crisis”.

Lassahn added: “Precisely because the industry worldwide is suffering from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to ‘meet’ to gain strength and learn from each other and to exchange ideas in a safe and innovative environment.

“We want the opportunity to get ourselves ready to grow and look forward to the future with confidence.”

City Life Spirits moves to 2021

The 2020 event would have been BCB’s first year at Messe Berlin, a larger site compared to its previous location at Station Berlin and the adjacent Kühlhaus, and would have provided more space for exhibitors. In addition, BCB originally planned to introduce a new concept for 2020, called City Life Spirits. This theme will now be used for the 2021 event, which will take place at Messe Berlin.

Since its inception, the show has grown from eight exhibitors to one of the biggest events for the bar and spirits industry. The event welcomes visitors from more than 80 countries annually.

Last year’s event welcomed 446 exhibitors with around 1,200 wine, spirit and beer brands. Visitor numbers also topped 15,000 for the first time last year.

Further information on BCB’s plans for the 2020 event will be revealed in due course.

BCB is one of a large number of industry events to be cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Last month, annual festival Tales of the Cocktail announced it would turn online for its 2020 event.

Reed Exhibitions also cancelled its Imbibe Live show in London and rescheduled its Bar Convent Brooklyn 2020 trade show, moving the event from 9-10 July to 11-12 August.

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