Bar Convent Brooklyn (BCB) is one of the leading international trade fairs for the beverage industry.
BCB will be hosting their in-person event this year on August 17 and 18 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. Bringing together the industry professionals, BCB celebrates the bar and beverage world through education, sharing practices, and promoting business opportunities.
We had the chance to sit down with the Event Director, Jackie Williams, to learn a little more about the two-day event.
Talk to us a bit about the inspiration behind the BCB conventions. Why was the event started?
BCB was founded in 2007 in Germany. Bar Convent started as a small industry meeting in Berlin and quickly became the leading international bar & beverage trade show. In 2015 Reed Exhibitions acquired the event and set forth to expand the brand globally – including in Brooklyn. Bar Convent Brooklyn’s inaugural year was 2018.
BCB is really about connections – whether that is through education and learning, connecting with people new and old, and through taste – sampling new products and getting inspired. BCB is able to connect them with beverage professionals to create an environment for the exchange of ideas and best practices and building valuable relationships
How has the show evolved since its inception?
The core of BCB Brooklyn has remained the same – craft spirits, education, and networking. We’ve seen solid growth each year – in the number of attendees, exhibitors, and education sessions. We always want to improve the experience for our customers. This year, there will be several noticeable changes – for example – with our health & safety protocols, you’ll see large aisles, increased handwashing stations, more outdoor, space, masks, etc. But you’ll also see some new features to the event.
- With regards to education – we have a new education committee in place dedicated to helping us craft the best content that we’ve ever had – both online and physically.
- Increased diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our brand ambassadors and education committee members play a big part in this. The topics of our education sessions will include conversations about social issues. It’s imperative that we are representative of our industry as a whole.
- We’re launching some pretty awesome BCB Brooklyn merchandise. You can buy this online now and onsite at the event.
- The Infused Saloon – an area showcasing our international customers who can’t make it to the event with us physically this year.
What have been some of its greatest hits/moments?
The first year of BCB – the opening day was awesome. Many of our customers have experienced BCB Berlin, but being able to expand it to Brooklyn was definitely a highlight. Bar Convent Brooklyn shares the same core tenets of Bar Convent Berlin with, of course, a Brooklyn flair. Those coming to the Brooklyn edition will find exhibitors and panels that will make their debut first in Brooklyn, offering an experience that will be unique only to Bar Convent Brooklyn.
In 2019, we had over 350,000 samples (including cocktails) served to attendees. That’s just so cool to say! It’s always great to see and taste new products and hear about new trends – and trust me – I love that – but at the end of the day, nothing beats the community. We can’t wait to get back together in person.
What experience can guests expect this year?
Increased access to food and water. This feedback came through strongly in 2019. quantity of food locations to reduce length of queues and increase the variety of offerings, including healthy options and dietary accommodations. Also, we’ll have plenty of San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna onsite – compliments of Nestlé.
What are you most looking forward to?
Being back together in person. This community thrives on in-person interactions; I can’t wait to see the friends being able to reconnect for the first time in so long and doing business together.
Tell us about the educational component.
Education has always been a huge aspect of BCB. We have our main stage, two demo stages, a taste forum, and Park Street University. The main stage will feature 10 panels. The demo stages will include talks from our exhibitors, and the taste forums will be master-class-style sessions. Park Street University is where you can expect seminars on such topics as packaging design, marketing, and brand management.