Everyone’s favourite, pint sized drinks show is spreading its wings and flying North. Next week sees BBS head to Manchester, then in September normal service is resumed at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London, before heading to Edinburgh in October.
BarLifeUK had a beer with show founder, Andrew Scutts, and got the skinny on his plans for world domination:
BLUK: So Andrew, what is Boutique Bar show, and how long has it been going?
AS: Boutique is a small and intimate drinks only show that aims to support the smaller niche brands in the market place. By giving everyone equal size stands we hope to put the focus on what’s inside the bottle and we ensure quality brands on every stand. It has now been going for three years and the fourth see’s an exciting period of expansion for the show.
BLUK: What are the new developments for 2010?
AS: Following last years success Boutique is now moving out of London for the first time with exhibitions in Manchester (May 13th) and Edinburgh (Oct 21st). With the Manchester show we are also incorporating a consumer element in the evening which is looking to be a great success. We have also looked to develop events around the show such as the Month of Boutique in Manchester which brings brands and bars together under the Boutique umbrella.
BLUK: Why have you decided to take the show to Manchester and Edinburgh?
AS: Working as a brand manager I was aware that these represent key markets for most brands with even smaller companies generally employing someone to look after these areas. With a huge number of quality bars in both regions the existing shows aren’t attracting the boutique brands anymore as they have a heavy focus on equipment and software/hardware which is very useful for operation owners but not as much so the independent retailers, bar managers and people who want to source new brands for their business.
BUK: Why should people come?
AS: I realise people are very busy these days and so the key reasons to attend the show are to
1. Taste, source and compare new and existing brands in the market place – can you find a brand that suits your venue? Can you negotiate some promotional activity
2. With lower visitor numbers the focus is on quality introductions. Bar managers/tenders can really engage with each brand, learn more about the history production etc which helps them when it comes to taking customers through the back bar range of drinks
3. It’s a very time/cost efficient way to see what is taking place in the market. Meet suppliers, potential recruits for the business
4. Participate in one of the drinks master classes. The focus is very much on Education which can only be a good thing
BLUK: What can visitors expect?
AS: Great brands, unique spaces and industry leading speakers are the key elements. As a drinks only show it is the quality of our exhibitors that make Boutique what it is and this year is no different. With Eaux De Vie, Speciality Brands, Inspirit, Emporia Brands, Marblehead, Pol Roger Portfolio just as a starting point you know your going to see quality on every stand. I’m really happy with the venues this year, Manchester Town Hall is a great place to start the series and Edinburgh’s Mansfield Traquair is described as the cities Sistine Chapel.
There are a number of Boutique Experiences including Jamie Stephenson attempting the world record for speed cocktail making. We are covering a number of different categories with our master classes including Rum with Mal Evans from Mojo, Gin with Andy Pearson, Mezcals with Carlos Londono and craft Beers with Tom Sandham and Ben Mcfarland from Dwink.co.uk
If people can attend the London show they will also experience the skills of Socio Rehab who are hosting a concept bar in the Lord Mayors Parlour which should be fantastic.
BLUK: What are the exact dates and locations of the three shows?
AS: Manchester, May 13th, Manchester Town Hall 11-6pm (trade), London, Sept 21/22nd, Royal Horticultural Halls, 11-6 and Edinburgh, Oct 21st, Mansfield Traquair, 11-6
BLUK: Any exciting brands signed up already?
AS: Too many to go into, have a look at our black book of brands for more information. Some of the new brands launching include Geranium Gin, Kings Ginger Liqueur, Purity Vodka, a range of Tequilas from the Tequila Society and a whole host besides. We welcome some classic brands who are refocusing like Lillet under Marblehead and all the quality drinks agencies are in attendance including Mangrove, Speciality Brands, J Wray and Nephew plus all the ones listed earlier.
So there you have it. BarLifeUK are judging the Free Spirit comp at the Manchester show, so drop by and say hello. Bribes are of course very welcome.