Bar Convent Berlin, the largest tradeshow in Europe for the bar and beverage industry, started on October 10-12th, 2022, and was attended by exhibitors and visitors worldwide. People from across the industry met to learn more about new trends in the industry and discover exciting new products. We had a chat with Annika Skohg, Brand Manager of Advocacy & Education for The Absolut Company, who shared her insights.
What stood out the most from the Berlin Bar Convent?
First and foremost, the vast space and the high number of people attending. More than 13,000 visited the Berlin Bar Convent. We met importers, bartenders, and industry people, who shared their brands’ stories and the latest bar and drink trends. My biggest takeaway was the exhibitors serving minimalistic cocktails and with innovative techniques.
What are the latest bar trends?
Sherry is the new passion fruit! We surprisingly saw a lot of it at the show as an essential ingredient to many drinks. We even saw tattoo artists offering sherry tattoos. Also, the approach of creating cocktails on the laboratory level is getting more and more at the forefront with the number of clarified drinks displayed in Bar Convent Berlin. Furthermore, many wanted to return to the brand’s roots and highlight their products and beverages in a very raw and minimalistic way. Beyond that, the ready-to-drink trend is still alive, the importance of proper glassware was underscored, and cocktails were served with sustainable materials.
Which type of spirit do you think will be more popular in the future?
Gin was frequently featured among the exhibitors during the event, which is not surprising. It’s a versatile spirit still in high demand that comes in different variants and flavouring.
How has the industry recovered from the pandemic?
During the pandemic, the bar and drinking industry was among the most wrecked. However, the recovery is going in the right direction. But my impression from Berlin Bar Convent is that many people that were working the stand were new to their job and occasionally lacked experienced brand and cocktail knowledge. The pandemic created a general staff shortage in the industry, where many lost their jobs and switched careers. The regrowth will take some time.
How will the bar- and beverage industry meet the upcoming consumer needs?
During the show, we saw a lot of low-ABV products and alcoholic-free options, confirming that as we have seen for a while, consumer today are very conscious about their alcohol intake. They care a lot more about the flavour and experience of the cocktail. Also, we know that Gen Z is a generation that cares a lot about what they consume and what the brands stand for. The quality of the product is not enough. They also want to understand where brands stand from a sustainable point of view, what we do for the environment and where your ingredients originate. Gen Z demands transparent storytelling about the brand’s operations which sets new requirements for the industry in the future.