Born of the avant garde drinks scene in Germany’s capital over 13 years ago, Bar Convent Berlin quickly became one of the drink industry’s most influential trade shows. Now, its stateside offshoot, Bar Convent Brooklyn, is finding similar success in one of the world’s greatest cocktail cultures, while also forging friendships and nourishing the community it serves. The inaugural year featured 125 brand exhibitors, dozens of product launches and over 3,000 attendees. One year later, the event nearly doubled in size, expanding its footprint into an adjacent building by adding 35% more space for brand booths along the way.
In a normal year, Bar Convent Brooklyn would take over the Brooklyn Expo Center with two days’ worth of revelry in early June. A forum for demos and discussions, the convention is built around nearly 250 brand exhibits. Unsurprisingly, the spirits world veers far from the dull table-with-pamphlets structure of most trade shows. Each booth comes with a distinctive theme and brazen display, some with a manifest desire to take it a step further than everyone else.
Of course, we know all too well that this is not a normal year. Without being able to fully contain outside circumstances, this year Bar Convent Brooklyn will continue its efforts in the digital space. The camaraderie and sense of community that Bar Convent Brooklyn embodies are more essential now than ever before.
“BCB’s goal has always been to support our industry and we are dedicated to re-emerging from the current crisis as a united community,” says Carlos Rodriguez, BCB Event Director. “The global Bar Convent team has been working diligently to innovate in new ways to deliver various channels for hospitality industry professionals to easily connect, learn, and grow from the comfort of their homes.”
As the pandemic continues to impact the way we live and drink, BCB is tackling the critical needs of an industry in flux. To that end, BCB has launched two online opportunities for the community to interact in a new way it never has before.
Creating a real-time opportunity for bartenders and beverage brands to mingle in lieu of an in-person event is Global Bar Week: a collaboration between BCB Brooklyn, BCB Berlin, BCB Sao Paulo, and Imbibe Live. Taking place October 12-18, the worldwide celebration of the people who shake up the drinks industry will unite spirits professionals and brands from around the world to meet, share, and learn.
Global Bar Week will be complimentary to bar & beverage professionals, offering education and inspiration by some of the world’s most creative minds. A dedicated matchmaking platform will enable attendees to schedule individual appointments with brands and have the chance to interact with exhibitors and peers via video chats and speed networking sessions.
To complement the one-time virtual event, BCB Brooklyn has launched Infused365, a web-based, year-round hub for industry news and resources, educational webinars and other digital programming in the bar space.
The site offers a rapidly expanding line-up of educational sessions, hosted by members of the BCB community. Recently, the complimentary courses have included deep dives into the spirits of Greece, Italy, and Mexico. Another popular series, “Law & Libations served by DiPasquale & Summers” offers legal guidance on how to navigate the rapid changes occurring in our current climate—the type of insight consultants typically charge thousands of dollars for, disseminated without cost.
Elsewhere on the platform is a multimedia cocktail book library—featuring noted authors such as Aaron Goldfarb, Kurt Maitland, Chantal Martineau, Fred Minnick, and Sother Teague—to address the lack of book events and thus dwindling sales during the pandemic. “When BCB asked me to film a short bit about my books, I was thrilled, because I have lost 100% of my live events. Selling books is hard enough. With no events or book signings, it’s damn near impossible,” says Minnick, author of Bourbon Curious. “To me, this shows BCB is not just about the sponsorship checks they collect,” he says.
Finally, as part of Infused365, BCB has also paired up with Culinary Agents to host a hospitality industry job board and a session on landing work post-pandemic by Culinary Agents founder and CEO, Alice Cheng.
BCB has taken extreme steps to strengthen the industry at a time when it is most vulnerable, but its team is aware that even the most personal and authentic interactions cannot fully replace the face-to-face experience. While crafting and adjusting digital offerings to meet the needs of brands, educators, and spirits professionals every day of the year, Bar Convent Brooklyn is actively planning to revive its live event in June 2021.
“BCB has been one of our highlights of the year the last couple years,” says Jordan Silbert, Founder and CEO of Brooklyn’s Q Mixers. “We’re still going to connect with everyone, to show them the joys of a properly served highball, virtually. But, I’m super excited about next year when we can all raise a great highball together, in-person, again.”
Learn more about Global Bar Week 2020 here! This article is sponsored by Bar Convent Brooklyn.