BERLIN, Germany – Bigger, more international and even more representative, the Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) took place this year from 10-11 October in the German capital. Featuring a total of 370 exhibitors from 32 countries – 17 per cent more than last year – the BCB for the first time occupied all the available space in the halls of Station Berlin and the neighbouring Kühlhaus.
That means the number of companies has more than doubled since 2014, the year in which the partnership of the three BCB founders and Reed Exhibitions as the organiser was kicked off.
The BCB set new visitor records, as well: welcoming a total of 12,217 trade visitors, including 1,500 speakers and exhibitor-invited VIP guests, the BCB surpassed last year’s record by another ten per cent and bumped up against officially sanctioned crowd size limits.
“A fantastic result”, as BCB director Petra Lassahn pointed out. “We can only say one thing: thank you. Thanks also for the composure and patience our customers – exhibitors and visitors alike – displayed while using our ticketing system ahead of the event. We regret not being able to accommodate all ticket requests.”
Coffee Convent Berlin
One of the novelties of this year’s edition was a new format called Coffee Convent Berlin focusing the latest coffee trends for bartenders and baristas.
“We laid the foundation [for Coffee Convent Berlin] with the Coffee Stage”, says BCB director Petra Lassahn. “And interest has become so strong that it was time to carve out a dedicated space for the versatile bean.”
Big names like Corsini Corsino and Luigi Lavazza Deutschland were at the premiere of the Coffee Convent Berlin, as exciting newcomers – including Black & White, Caté goods and Röststätte Berlin.
They put on display the wide-ranging uses of coffee, which bartenders can prepare to serve as a source of acid, aroma component, filler, syrup, bitter or, of course, by itself as a classic hot beverage.
Coffee know-how by and for experts
Complementing the exhibitors’ offerings was an informative stage programme hosted by the Coffee Convent Berlin in cooperation with Luigi Lavazza Deutschland.
At the central Coffee Stage, such renowned coffee experts as the Worldwide Champion of Coffee Roasters, Erick Brockholz, barista trainer Paul Kaiser, bar master Kingston Bernhard and many more shared their first-hand knowledge.
Topics included coffee trends for the restaurant scene, “Coffee quality: The long way to enjoyment”, and the booming world of coffee cocktails. In keeping with BCB tradition, tastings are of course included.
The stand of speciality coffee roaster Röststätte Berlin saw company founder Ivo Weller, a certified coffee sommelier, and Nicole Battefeld, the company’s head barista and runner-up at the German Barista Championship 2016, providing information and consultations.
They talked about how to prepare well-balanced espresso, present good coffee for bars, offer tastings with the season’s best filter coffees and introduce various brewing methods including the coffee syphon.
Plus, they unveiled and sample a coffee liqueur developed by Röststätte Berlin in cooperation with The Curtain Club, the bar of the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, and the rum brand Ron Zacapa.
BCB 2018 to run for three days
She announced that the next BCB will be extended to three days, while Station Berlin will continue to serve as the location: “No other centrally located venue with more space and comparable charm is currently available in Berlin”, says Petra Lassahn. Hence, she adds, extending the duration is the right solution to satisfy the growing visitor interest.
370 exhibitors with 1,100 brands
Other good reasons to do so: the range of products and services is growing and growing, and international exhibitors and visitors travel to the BCB from farther and farther away.
The 370 exhibiting companies showcased more than 1,100 brands, plus they hosted countless tastings in the Brew Berlin area and at the new Coffee Convent Berlin.
Another record: nearly 200 exhibitors travelled from abroad – more international producers than ever before.
A special focus this year was on France, the BCB’s Country of Honour. Italy will play that role at the next BCB.
To the BCB – from every corner of the world
The spirits spanned the globe: from Armagnac and aquavit to calvados and gin to rum and whisky.
But they were not alone. Visitors, too, made their way from around the world: from Berlin to London to New York, from there to São Paulo and on to Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore, and all the way to Sydney and Cape Town.
Everyone’s journey had the same final destination: the BCB. Just under half of all trade visitors – the majority of them bartenders, bar managers or bar owners – now make the trek from outside Germany, many of them from overseas.
Concoctions and know-how
They come, in part, to be there when such international stars as Ian Burrell, Phil Duff, Alex Kratena, Salvatore Calabrese and Steve Schneider share insights into their concoctions and know-how.
That’s because when the BCB says “Cocktail is King” it always also means “Content is King”, which in turn means a comprehensive programme of lectures, seminars, master classes and, of course, tastings.
“The mix of business and content is the DNA of the BCB. Both together are the foundation of our success”, says Petra Lassahn. Also contributing to this success is the Global Drinks Forum. Held the day before the BCB, the conference brought together about 100 international speakers and experts from the spirits industry.
Bar Convent Brooklyn
This recipe for success will be expanded on the international level next year. The first Bar Convent Brooklyn is scheduled to take place at the Brooklyn Expo Center, New York, on 12 and 13 June 2018.
Bar Convent Berlin 2018
The next Bar Convent Berlin will take place at Station Berlin as a three-day event from 8 to 10 October 2018.
Note: The BCB’s visitor, exhibitor and floor space figures are calculated and certified according to the uniform definitions published by FKM – German Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics.