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Bar Convent Berlin

Published:  09 October, 2018

With its new three day format and increasingly international reach, Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) shines spotlight on professionalism, mentoring and entrepreneurial skills.

A buzzing first day at this year’s edition of BCB gave lie to a growing show, with organisers expecting 14,000 visitors from 70 countries, to talk and taste with a record 432 exhibitors, showing some 1,200 brands from around the world, representing a 17% increase on 2017.

Introducing this year’s event, show director Petra Lassahn and director of education Angus Winchester highlighted changes in format at the show, designed to reflect and feed into what Winchester described as “a lot more professionalism” in the industry.

Across a packed programme of seminars and talks, day one (Monday October 8) focused on bar operators, with days two and three focussing on bartenders and then brand distributors respectively.

Winchester, who oversees the educational elements of the programme, said the focus on bartenders was key for the future of the industry, with a global annual staff turnover of around 60% being one of the biggest challenges for those looking to change perception of careers in the bar world.

“We do a lot of education about how this is not just a lifestyle, but a serious profession, and one that should have the same respect as chefs and sommeliers can have – we are in the hospitality world,” said Winchester.

“We do a lot of work with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, which has good spirits based programmes, and it’s good to see much more accreditation in the bar world, and not just on the product, but on the business side too,” he said.

The need for greater mentoring from within the bar industry, along with the importance of nurturing and developing greater entrepreneurial skills across all aspects of working in and running bars, form a core part of the features programme at this year’s BCB.

“People get confused by mentoring - mentors are different from teachers, a mentor is someone that doesn’t have a direct control over you, and is not just talking about your technical skills, but your mindset, and about mental and physical wellness too,” said Winchester.

On the millennial generation, he added: “The idea of the millennial who is empowered, this is one of most entrepreneurial generations that has ever existed and this is being reflected in bar world.”

Lassahn said that the networking aspect of the show was as important as tasting and talking to brand owners, allowing exchange of ideas from bar communities around the world, adding that the growth of BCB reflected the ongoing development and growth of bar culture internationally.

“This is a pure trade show, not a dressed up cocktail festival, and it is driven by closeness to the market,” he said.

Billed as the European bar show, BCB has been spreading its reach with an annual event in Brooklyn, and has now launched a show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to capture the growing Latin American bar market audience.