Strong signal from the bar industry:  Visitors from 77 countries at the digital Global Bar Week

October 20 – Solidarity through a crisis, discourse, and exchange across borders, alternative paths in the new “normal” and drink innovations: From October 12-18, 2020, Global Bar Week brought the bar and beverage industry together digitally across four continents under one remarkable platform. For the first time, the most important global shows in the industry, Bar Convent Berlin, BCB Brooklyn, BCB São Paulo, and Imbibe Live, united to form a common platform to bring the industry together worldwide.

232 exhibitors presented themselves with virtual showrooms. Approximately 6,800 visitors from 77 countries attended virtually and took advantage of the multitude of resources and content made available at the debut Global Bar Week. Attendees informed themselves about the latest innovations, trends, product releases, and industry best practices. The majority of visitors came from the USA, Brazil, UK, and Germany, but attendees from all corners of the world such as parts of Europe, India, Mexico, and Singapore also actively used the virtual platform.

“We are so proud of what we have created together,” said BCB Director Petra Lassahn at the end of the week-long event. “In what has been a year like no other, we have opened up new paths and possibilities for the future with the Global Bar Week digital platform. The breadth and variety, we were able to offer proved very valuable for our participants, especially during this current crisis. Digital trade fairs will never replace live shows, but this year, they have given us a unique opportunity to come together as an industry, across all countries and continents, despite the pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the USA, Brazil, and the UK for their cooperation. Together we have also lived the ‘BCB spirit’ digitally,” Petra continues.

Digital networking 

This year’s Global Bar Week provided many functions for the industry – as a forum for exchange, a top-level educational program, a think tank, and an innovation show. Matchmaking, a kind of dating platform for business, was an important tool for the participants as a way to build their business and create professional connections. A total of around 1,000 personal video meetings took place during Global Bar Week, where attendees and exhibitors had the opportunity to exchange contact data and generate leads.

Content from top speakers 

Education traditionally plays an important role at BCB and this year was no exception. Panels and seminars were led by renowned industry peers, with attendees clocking in nearly 3,000 hours viewing programming content. From nearly 150 lectures and discussion rounds to choose from: from topics surrounding coronavirus – what it means to the industry and how to navigate the future, to covering important social and societal issues where attendees heard from diverse expert voices across the industry. 

The most sought-after content ranged from spirits, beverage, and consumer trends, drink, and menu design, a look behind the scenes of bars from all over the world, and fundamentals, such as the “History of Cocktails in 30 Drinks”. Other panels in demand included, “How to Become the Best Bartender in the World,” “Low & No Aperitif”, and “The AeroPress preparation of coffee.”

Key Industry Trends Evidenced during Global Bar Week

There were some prevalent industry trends and insights that emerged during the program. In a discussion with Park Street, analysts Mike Provance (PhD, CEO, 3X3), and Matt Crompton (Client Solutions Director, Nielsen CGA) found that the tequila category showed the largest consumer growth during the past six months of COVID-19 with RTDs closely following. In regard to trends based on consumer behaviors, customers will be increasingly conscious of their buying power and will support brands and venues with authentic voice and diversity, was one of the many key takeaways discussed from the panel titled, “Black Lives Matter, Now What? How To Address Black Consumers”. Speakers Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves, of Charleston Beverage, Fatima Butler (Rooted in Hospitality), and Samara B. Rivers, (Black Bourbon Society) also recommended that securing new accounts in new and diverse areas to be incorporated into sales quotas, allowing for consumers to discover new brands and build brand loyalty as well as an opportunity for increased revenue for brands. On-premise, reservations will continue to be essential for both guests and venue operators, to allow security and peace of mind for guests, and for operators to be able to turn over tables with a set time frame, ensuring a flow of guests. 

“We built a robust and useful digital meeting place and lecture hall that provided practical, inspiring, and relevant education for our vast and diverse community,” said BCB Director of Education, Angus Winchester. “Feedback has been amazing, and the extension of the education program means more time to explore new topics, hear new voices and opinions and continue to move forward to the new normal. I thank all speakers who shared their experiences with us.”

Through October 25, the featured panels and the ability to directly contact exhibitors will be available complimentary with registration still available at

“With the outpouring of collective warmth and solidarity across the global bar industry, and the success of Global Bar Week now behind us, we look forward to welcoming everyone in person next year in Brooklyn,” shares Carlos Rodriguez, BCB Event Director. 

The next Bar Convent Brooklyn is set to take place at the Brooklyn Expo Center in June 2021.  The next Imbibe Live will be taking on 5 & 6 July 2021, Olympia London. And the next Bar Convent Berlin will take place from 11 to 13 October 2021 at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

 Participants’ voices:

“We were very excited about the first purely digital BCB – under the given circumstances the right and only alternative for an exchange within the bar scene. As one of the sponsors, we are pleased that we were able to contribute t the implementation of the new concept and are satisfied with how we were represented with our brands and were able to use the digital BCB as a platform – especially for the presentation of our new product FORDS GIN. Nevertheless, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the next BCB can take place live in Berlin again”. 

Daniela Rücker, Trade Marketing Manager, BROWN-FORMAN Germany

“Speaking at Imbibe Live Online was a great way to shine a light on sustainable practises for businesses. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some of our insights from Speak in Code during Global Bar Week and I hope that the people watching could take away some positive and practical solutions to an important challenge.”

Nathan Larkin, Founder, Speak in Code

 “I think it’s great that the fair was able to take place despite the situation and, above all, that the content was made available to visitors free of charge. Chapeau!”

René Tempel, Advocacy Manager D/A/CH, BACARDI GMBH

 “I entered into Global Bar Week as the owner of an underground Cocktail Speakeasy looking to expand my portfolio of represented spirits for interested drinkers and I really didn’t know what to expect from it. So far I’ve spoken to producers in five different countries on three different continents and all of them want me to represent their product at my cocktail experience. And this is only day two. Huzzah, GBW!”

Matt Levy, Owner, Covert Cocktail Club (@covertcocktailclub)

Press releases are generated outside of Spirited magazine and the information contained does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Spirited or its parent company, Sonoma Media Investments.