Organisers aim high as trade show returns

Hundreds of drinks producers and presenters set for two-day event


AN essential diary date for anyone who buys, serves or sources drinks – that’s how organisers of this year’s Imbibe Live trade show have described the event. Taking place on July 5 and 6 at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre in London, Imbibe Live 2011 will bring a host of drinks producers, thousands of brands and a number of tastings, demonstrations and seminars under one roof. And organisers are confident this year’s event will be bigger and better than the inaugural trade show last year, which is said to have featured more than 1000 drinks brands and attracted 4500 on-trade buyers.
Rachel Harty, group marketing and events manager at Imbibe, said the programme has been revamped for this year to include more guest speakers and demonstrations. Seminars this year include Boost Your Own Beer Offering with beer writer Ben McFarland; How to Win Sommelier Competitions with Gérard Basset, winner of the Best Sommelier in the World 2010 title; and Easy Money – a demonstration of how to create six different cocktails in less time than it takes to pour a pint of Guinness.

Feedback from last year’s show was fantastic but we have made some changes as we’re always striving for excellence.

Show director Hannah Tovey said the new features for 2011 will complement last year’s exhibitors, who are returning to the show. “We spent a lot of time listening to the visitors and exhibitors after last year’s event,” she said. “While the feedback was largely fantastic, we have made some changes as we’re always striving for excellence and it’s important to keep things fresh. We are truly thrilled that pretty much all of last year’s exhibitors are joining us again this year – as that’s the biggest compliment of all. But we are also excited by a host of new brands and companies joining the march. Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands is creating a larger feature zone in which its training team, headed up by Alex Turner, will host training sessions across the two days. And Majestic Commercial will present an array of its award-winning wines so you can taste for yourself how it came to win Best Newcomer in this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards. We’ve brought some really exciting presenters on board this year, such as food and drink architects Bompas & Parr, who will bring the Centre Stage to life on July 6. And we’re delighted to welcome Fred Sirieix, of BBC Service fame, who will deliver his ‘golden rules’ on how to train your staff at lunchtime, also on Wednesday (July 6).”

The show will be split into different areas. The Centre Stage is the setting for demonstrations and seminars, while the Taste Zone will host events such as tastings and food matching, as well as a range of new wines, spirits and soft drinks. In the Sommelier Lounge, visitors to the show will get the chance to taste a wide range of wines and vote in this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards Live. Licensees inexperienced in buying wine will also be able to take part in 20-minute ‘wine safaris’, where a wine expert will introduce them to eight different wines being exhibited at the show.
The Shake It zone will focus on cocktails, with seminars and presentations by experts as well as tasting sessions, while the Liquid Profits room will host a series of seminars providing advice on how to boost wet sales. Finally, the Back Bar zone will host a number of boutique exhibitors.

Firms launching new products and services at this year’s event include supplier Matthew Clark, which will kick off its new partnership with training company Flow Hospitality (see story on page 8); Love Drinks, which will launch Icelandic beer Einstok; and soft drinks company Belvoir Fruit Farms, which recently introduced a new product to its Fruit Crush range.
Rachel Harty said this year’s event looks set to be bigger and better than last year. “Imbibe Live 2011 is an essential diary date for anyone who buys, sells or sources drinks for an on-trade establishment and is serious about improving their drinks offer and knowledge,” she said.

To register for a free ticket visit

Imbibe highlights »
Sommelier Wine Awards live, 10.30am Tuesday July 5 and 11am Wednesday July 6
Sommeliers v Bartenders final, 3.30pm Tuesday July 5
Punch Bowl Punch Up, 5.30pm Tuesday July 5
Easy Money (six quick and profitable cocktails), 12.30pm Tuesday July 5
Profitable Promotions, 5pm Tuesday July 5 and 4.30pm Wednesday July 6