This was the Editor’s Page in the Australian Bartender’s March issue.
Like any other big event our BarShow week brings with it a host of positive and negative outcomes. The important thing is to try and learn from both and to try and listen to what your suppliers and audience is saying. So here it is.
Today’s young adult consumers are showing that they are eager to learn more about quality drink brands, cocktail culture and most importantly that they appreciate the variety of bars both big and small that exist in Sydney and elsewhere. You just have to see the number of relatively new and successful consumer food and drink events taking place around the country to see that consumers want to drink and eat better, and they are prepared to pay a bit more to do so.
Sydney’s recent boom of fantastic new small bars has been overwhelmingly well received by consumers. They are loving the choice in venues they now have to enjoy a drink, and no, it didn’t leave the streets awash with drunks as the Hotels Association proclaimed it would! Simply put, this is the right time for the trade show with the largest selection of premium spirits (yes, BarShow can lay claim to exhibiting more premium spirits each year than any other trade show) to expand and exhibit to both the trade and consumers.
“So after a decade of being the premier trade only event we feel it the right time to expand and educate not only the professional but also the passionate!”David Spanton
The other factor for us expanding into new markets is the realisation that over the years trade bartenders, bar managers and bar owners have been spoiled with quality training and promotions by many suppliers; this makes it harder and harder for all suppliers and events to attract attendees. I regularly speak to suppliers and I know I have spoken of this myself in past editions, but the number of ‘no shows’ to most trade events can be staggering.
If the invitees are not hand held all the way to the function or are at least paying to attend (which is very rare for a trade event) they vary rarely follow through. A major reason for this is the sheer number of events taking place throughout the year, so it’s no wonder it’s hard for the trade to find the time.
I looked at all of this it and realised that while we do a great show with very respectable attendee numbers of 3,000+, at the end of the day we can cater to that number over one exhibition day rather than both days. So why not tighten up the trade elements to make some room for consumers to get involved if the trade part isn’t growing? Done.
This has been the direction of hospitality events around the world over the past few years. Suppliers see this happening and diminish their trade budgets while increasing their consumer budgets. To me it’s a rather simple issue in that you choose to adapt or die. There’s just not the budgets anymore from suppliers to stage a top quality trade-only event with expensive international speakers etc. So I chose to adapt and expand our event to ensure its future and I’m confident that it will now prosper for another decade or two!
So after a decade of being the premier trade only event we feel it the right time to expand and educate not only the professional but also the passionate! From 2012 Sydney BarShow Week will now get a slight name change to be known as Sydney Bar Week and will incorporate our best trade elements from BarShow along with a host of exciting consumer drink educational events.
Get online and check out what we have planned and make sure you mark your diary for what I promise will be a great week for all involved.