The bar scene highlight of the year is fast approaching with the 10th anniversary celebration of Bar Convent Berlin and the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS. Today lets look at some of this combined events important facts, figures and personalities. Well explore whos going to be on the many stages at BCB, give you the low-down on the new venue for the award ceremony and ask the controversial question, Wheres the coffee?

“Jingle Bells” with a shaker and a strainer? That might sound a little early, but with the onset of cooler weather and the upcoming MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS plus Bar Convent Berlin, for Europe’s bartenders it’s like all their Christmases have come at once!

MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS at a new location

The Oscars of the bar industry, aka the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS, were held for the last three years at Berlin’s Grand Hyatt Hotel at Potsdamer Platz. This year the awards move to a new venue at the Maritim Hotel Berlin in Stauffenbergstrasse. The Hyatt was always a great host for the ceremony, but the demand for tickets consistently outstripped the capacity available at the Hyatt.

So this year instead of 400 guests, we’ll be welcoming 600 bar pros and friends to the Maritim’s grand ballroom for the traditional gala dinner followed by the award ceremony. And despite the fact that not even this move will meet the complete demand for tickets, an increase of 50% is a real step forward.

16 prizes in all are set to be awarded to the worthy victors, including four brand new categories covering the best and brightest bars and bar heroes across Europe. The pan-European prize winners will be selected by a brand new separate jury of 16 acknowledged experts who are equally from all over Europe.

And as if a magnificent three-course dinner and a champagne reception weren’t enough, guests can also look forward to no less than 22 different outstanding cocktails and drinks served at the 12 bars hosted by companies sponsoring the awards!

THE MIXOLOGY MARKET: A single-source kick-off

This year’s Bar Convent Berlin 2016 will officially kick off for the third year in a row together with the opening of the MIXOLOGY MARKET. This easygoing bar industry get-together is always held on the evening before the convention starts the next day. It gets going this year at 8 p.m. on October 10th at the Station Berlin. Just follow the signs on the convention site.

There is no shortage of reasons to attend the MIXOLOGY MARKET. The casual street market atmosphere greets guests with an array of great street food stands and drinks from some of the finest bartenders anywhere. Bar Convent attendees who want to focus more on visiting expert presentations and finding new products than on networking during the actual convention can take advantage of the MIXOLOGY MARKET’s laid back vibe to refresh old contacts and make new ones. And the market will continue the tradition of live-streaming the simultaneous MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS in a separate room for all those interested in the awards and their results, but who prefer jeans to tuxedos!

Of course, BCB ticketholders enjoy free admission to the MIXOLOGY MARKET. It’s recommended that you get there on time, since capacity is limited at the MIXOLOGY MARKET venue, Hall 5 at the Station.

Awards live-stream also on Facebook this year

Prefer to watch the awards at home with friends? No problem, because this year the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS will also be live-streamed on MIXOLOGY ONLINE, at the MIXOLOGY MARKET and for the first time on Facebook as well. Fans and bar pros who want to follow the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS action live from anywhere in the world, including their favorite bar, just need to tune in to the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS Facebook page on Monday, October 10th from 8 pm CET.

Bar Convent Berlin: Important facts & figures

The BCB has grown steadily since its debut in 2007, when roughly 1,000 pros and enthusiasts got together for the first time. Now the BCB is THE central European bar and beverages industry event, attracting people from our industry from all over the world. For the last two years at least half of the convention attendees have come to the BCB from far beyond German-speaking Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which is why most of the presentations are now made in English. Tickets can be purchased online for € 45 in advance. As always, MIXOLOGY subscribers enjoy a generous discount (only for advance ticket sales associated with subscriptions taken out by September 20th, 2016). Attention: Verification that you work in the bar & beverages industry may be required for direct box office sales.

In 2015 Bar Convent Berlin was acquired by UK company Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading events organizer, whose knowledge and input has been invaluable. The content of the event however is still the domain of its three founders, Helmut Adam, Jens Hasenbein and Bastian Heuser. We have some insightful facts and figures to illustrate just how much the BCB has grown by now, just a couple of short weeks before its 10th anniversary: More than 10,000 attendees from all over the world are expected to gather again this coming October 11 and 12th at the 16,700 m2 convention site, where some 280 stands present more than 900 brands featuring products new and old. The BCB on-stage events now comprise almost 90 presentations, podium discussions, tasting sessions and more hosted on no less than nine different stages. No current bar culture topic or issue will go unmentioned in the events program during this two-day trade fair.

And to ensure that no one ever goes thirsty at the stands and stages, a team of 180 runners will keep everyone supplied with a never-ending stock of fresh ice, citrus fruits and glasses.

The on-stage events: Whos speaking?

Once again, the BCB roster of speakers, moderators and discussion participants reads like a who’s-who of the global bar and beverages scene. They include: Cocktail historians Anistatia Miller & Jared Brown, consultant, author and man-in-the-know Phil Duff, the two Artesian Bar veterans Alex Kratena & Simone Caporale, “Rum Ambassador” Ian Burrell and other luminaries such as Dave Broom, star sommelier Billy Wagner, bartenders Tristan Stephenson and Remy Savage and The 86 co-founder Simon Ford.

The MIXOLOGY Lounge also offers attendees the opportunity to speak personally with one of the jurors from this year’s MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS. As you can see, it takes more than a touch of organizational talent and discipline to make the Presentation Program the very best it can be.

Coffee Stage and Beer Stage: Stepchildren? Not by a long shot

While at times other bar and beverages industry fairs can tend to treat beer and coffee like unwanted stepchildren, at the Bar Convent we have long welcomed both with their own serious forums as important players in today’s bar culture, and we continue this proud tradition this year. For the second time running, the Bar Convent Berlin Coffee Stage will once again be curated by US coffee expert Cory Andreen. Connoisseurs will address every important aspect of the beloved brown bean including new varieties and roasts, sustainability, preparation methods and of course today’s inclusion of coffee as a valued bar product and cocktail ingredient. Speakers will include Martin Hudák from the Savoy Hotel in London, for years an expert on coffee in drinks and a leading specialist in the field.

Meanwhile, now in its fourth year the BCB beer platform Brew Berlin will host its own stage for the second year in a row, hosted this year by MIXOLOGY’s own Helmut Adam and beer author Dirk Hoplitschek. The stage will welcome some of the brewing world’s major players from the fields of craft beer, classic brewing culture, specialist journalism and other areas of expertise. One Brew Berlin highlight is sure to be the head-to-head “British vs. American Styles” tasting session featuring British beer journalism’s leading light Pete Brown and acknowledged beer guru and the US Brewer’s Association Ambassador to Germany, Sylvia Kopp. It’s enough to warm the cockles of any hops enthusiast’s beer belly!

We can’t wait for this true celebration of bar culture, right in the heart of Berlin!


Translation by J.J. Collier.


Foto: Photo via Gili Shani. Post: Tim Klöcker.