Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Q&A: Judy Kendrick, original SITT creator

Published:  11 September, 2017

Original creator Judy Kendrick kick-started SITT back in 2005 with her vision for an event which puts buyers’ needs at the top of the agenda.

After a stint away, she is once again back at the helm, driving a refreshed event which is even more focused on pairing the independent on- and off-trades with specialist importers which can add a dynamic edge to their wine lists.

Ahead of our SITT events in Bristol on September 18 and London on September 20, we spoke to Kendrick about then and now, looking at how the event has grown with the times and how needs have changed.

1. What was the initial impetus behind SITT?

As the new strapline confirms, SITT has been ‘Bringing specialists together since 2005’ and this is exactly what it set out to do then and still sets out to do today. Prior to SITT, buyers’ needs weren’t always considered.

Independent buyers were, and still are, time-poor. They have a shop or a restaurant to run and don’t have time to leave the business for days at a time, so it was key to offer an event that found the best specialist importers and met all their buying needs in one place and on one day. This is why a London venue and a second venue was always on the agenda from the beginning.

2. How have the needs of indie retailers and on-trade operators changed since 2005?

Buyers may be sourcing a wider diversity of drinks today than they were twelve years ago, and there may be a few more buying groups than there were. The principles of looking for quality and value have always been key, however. There are always new trends to be aware of and an interest in emerging regions. These will change and evolve, but buyers still want to buy from companies and individuals they trust.

3. How is SITT relevant in 2017?

SITT has always been an essential day in the tasting calendar and now, with the added value Agile Media is offering to visitors and exhibitors it will be the best day’s work for everyone this year. The new features will make SITT even more of a business event than ever, offering market data, business seminars and tasting workshops.

As a visitor, where else are you offered a free day that not only gives you an introduction to some of the most innovative and relevant products on the market today, but also help you with business advice and strategy?

4. How important is getting those niche or point-of-difference wines right to an independent wine business?

An independent retailer or restaurant has to have wines that are different from the major groups. It’s essential for the life-blood of their business. They also have to have knowledge, passion, enthusiastic staff and good business sense. It’s not easy, but for those who succeed they offer their customers a fantastic service and a view into a (wine) world their customers just love to be a part of.

5. What’s your advice for visitors to get the most out Autumn SITT?

You should be able to get round all the exhibitors if you give yourself a full day at SITT. But if your time is limited, check out the tasting brochure on-line and may be even pre-book some meetings with exhibitors. Then exhibitors will have time to spend with you and time to concentrate on your business needs.

6. What are the opportunities at the moment in Bristol and London?

Bristol and the South West are showing exponential growth of innovative independent retailers and the festival scene is really interesting for both drinks retailers and drinks brands. New product trends tend to start in London, so SITT is a great place for all visitors to discover new wines and a few new spirits too.

Register now for a free place at the event at