Bar Convent Brooklyn returned to New York City on August 17-18 to reunite the beverage industry together following last year’s virtual Global Bar Week. This year’s bar trade conference marked the return of in-person events and the first industry bar and beverage conference as a physical show since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with attendees coming in from over 36 states across the US.
With 134 exhibitors, over 50 new products debuted, 3,000+ attendees, 65,000 ounces of mixers used, and 250,000 drinks and spirits samples poured over two days, Bar Convent Brooklyn 2021 hit the ground running. “It was invigorating to see the industry come together at BCB Brooklyn and see connections and ideas grow from the show,” said Bar Convent Brooklyn event director Jackie Williams in a press release. “It’s evident from the show that the industry is coming back stronger and more inspired, connected, and united.”
Education expanded this year with 30% more programming added, resulting in 87 panels and tasting demonstrations across five stages. There were some prevalent industry trends and insights that emerged during the two-day program. In a discussion on “Creating a Future-Proof Market for Craft Spirits,” Maggie Quinn, (Director of Public Relations, DISCUS) shared 2020 data that showed the decline in on-premise spirits expenditures gave consumers $20 billion to spend off-premise, including at-home mixology and RTDs. This correlation and change in legislation allowed craft brands to reach their consumers directly and replace the loss of tasting room sales with direct product purchases via the brand’s website. Speakers Brian Facquet (Do Good Spirits) and Danny Polise (Penelope Bourbon) added that the agility of a craft brand allows them to shift quickly, and this direct-to-consumer shipping grant brands the opportunity to expand their offerings vs. a traditional retail space.
Customers (including bar trade) will be increasingly conscious of their buying power regarding trends based on consumer behaviors. They will support brands and venues with transparency, authentic voice, and diversity, which was one of the many takeaways discussed from the panel titled, “The Future of the Latinx Consumer.” Speakers Eric Zurita (Pa’lante), Nancy Ulloa (Ulloa Cellars), and Natasha Bermudez (Llama San) noted that the Latinx community is very active online and purchase more than any other ethnic group online per capita. Brands and sales teams that can speak to and interact with the diverse cultures and dialects of the Latinx community can hold their brand loyalty and purchase power. An additional focus for Latinx and non-consumer groups is changing the misconception that Latin brands and concepts aren’t premium. The topic transparency continued to radiate across panels discussions from “2020 and the Stories We Tell”, which noted that brands need to be transparent. Bartenders will talk in person and online and can inform both patrons and the venue’s purchasing decisions. “Ethos of Eco Spirits” main stage session speakers reaffirmed that transparency is sustainability – showing and telling the consumers the truth, how it is made, where the ingredients are from, etc. As a result, people can connect fully with a brand.
The extension of the education program and dedication to ensure a safe and impactful show for attendees and exhibitors meant more time for attendees and brands to explore new topics, hear new voices and opinions and continue to move the industry forward to the new normal. Exhibitor Casa Dragones shared that, “It was wonderful to see new and familiar faces and to be able to come together again at BCB.” Bar Convent Brooklyn Event Director Jackie Williams says, “We appreciate the continued support of the bar and beverage community and the future is looking bright.” Those who were unable to attend the show or would like to revisit premier education programming from this year can visit the Bar Convent Brooklyn website in the coming days to access the recorded content.
The next edition of Bar Convent Brooklyn is set for June 14 & 15, 2022.