Trade Shows Evolved

Last month, The Manhattan Cocktail Classic came to town and at the end of June, The Bar and Restaurant Show comes to the Javits Center in NYC. Details here.

I’d like to take a close look at these events and the impact on the business. In all candor, I haven’t always been a fan of these shows but they’re changing for the better, and it’s probably time I looked at them with an open mind.

Let’s start with The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, which was on May 11th to 15th at a range of venues around the city (over 70 locations). I was traveling and unable to attend but from all accounts, Lesley Townsend and her team had the best event since the show began in 2009. Three reasons, so far as I can tell.

First, the show focused for the first time on the industry as well as consumers. They had a range of invitation only events aimed at the beverage industry professionals, from tastings to networking.

Second – and as we say in the playwriting world – the subplot, was the integrated and intelligent use of technology. This included a customized app for the show and a “cocktail tracking” bracelet that kept track of what people drank (Near Field Communications technology). Not only that, it provided detailed recipes of every cocktail consumed and also enhanced the social media efforts for those on Twitter and Facebook.

Finally, The Manhattan Cocktail Classic couldn’t exist without mainstream brands as sponsors. But, I was impressed by the extent that “newbies” got showcased, including my friends at Jack from Brooklyn and their Sorel brand.

According to Lesley, the show sold out. Sorry I missed it.

But, I expect to be there at The Bar and Restaurant Show on June 26 and 27. While it’s a different kind of trade show, I’m anxious to see if it’s also evolving.

Stay tuned.

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