Uber. Gin. Fashion Show.
These are the three words that sum up Bar Convent 2022 in Brooklyn this past summer.
As a first-time attendee, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I am more familiar with attending scientific symposiums that start at 8 AM with little to no break between sessions- trying to absorb as much information as possible; I quickly learned that Bar Convent and the alcohol industry itself are slightly different. As an early riser, I was quite flummoxed at the beginning of the event, with most sessions beginning at 11 AM.
Even the dress code was one to be desired. Gone were the business casual/formal attitude, and out flowed the creative juices, from combat boots, shorts, transparent leggings, floral print shirts, men’s Fedoras, and MACs Ruby Woo lipstick (IYKYK). It was a VIBE. So much so that when I got into the Uber, the driver asked if I was coming from a fashion show.
This year’s conference was held at Industry City, a historic warehouse in Brooklyn. It comprises 16 buildings and is a multi-faceted space for events, artisan shops and cultural eateries. Just the ideal place for Bar Convent.
The two-day show brings pioneers from the bar and beverage industry together to learn about new trends, techniques, and products through demos, keynotes, and panel discussions. Fifty new products debuted, and over 300,000 drinks were sampled, attracting over 3800 attendees. Now that I have set the scene, let’s dive into a few highlights from the event.
Themes and Trends
The champion spirit of the conference was Gin. Gin offers a level of complexity that can be felt by drinking it straight and can be exciting in cocktails. The various ratios of traditional botanicals mixed with uncommonly used botanicals left exciting flavor profiles.
Non-alcoholic spirits and mixers were in full force. Ironically most of them were gin-like. The botanicals and herbs can provide a unique and elevated drinking experience, distracting you from the absence of alcohol.
Additionally, one interesting trend I observed was savory cocktails, particularly the use of Japanese Shochu. Shochu is a distilled spirit from the South of Japan. There was also a discussion session about the use of umami in cocktails. Although still quite niche for mainstream you can experience these savory-umami-type cocktails at niche bars and restaurants. The last few years were about bitter. Cue the negroni and now savory is having its moment in which consumers are looking for less of a sweet profile for their drinks.
One last thing to mention is the rise of Agave spirits, specifically outside of Mexico. Think of countries places such as Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
What will I discover at Bar Convent 2023? Will it be more Gin? Will the non-alcohol spirits and mixers still be in full force? What about botanical and herb-infused spirits? I can’t wait to find out!
In the meantime, If you’re interested in chatting more about upcoming beverage trends, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Until next time,