Brands ‘brought their A game’

Latest Evolution event from Inverarity Morton hailed a success

The Smokehead bar at Inverarity Morton’s Evolution 19 event

THE organisers of trade event Evolution 19 have hailed the success of this year’s show after welcoming more than 600 people through the doors.

Evolution, organised by wholesaler Inverarity Morton, took place in Glasgow’s SWG3 late last month.

Over 60 drinks brands were showcased across more than 30 different bars, with names ranging from independent producers up to giants like Johnnie Walker.

In keeping with the theme of the event, exhibitors were encouraged to make their stands as interactive and unusual as possible, with examples including a bowling lane, a vending machine serving Old Fashioneds and a mechanised giraffe.

Ian Cumming, commercial director at Inverarity Morton, said all of the suppliers at the event “upped their game” after the success of the inaugural show last year.

“Last year I think 70% or 80% brought their A game,” said Cumming.

“I think they all came with their A game this year.”

New features for the 2019 event included the Rum Shack – an area dedicated to rum brands and rum-based cocktails, and which also hosted an impromptu cocktail competition between bartenders from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In addition to a broad range of spirits exhibitors there were also several brewers, a wine area and stalls serving hot and cold food.

Cumming said the company had taken a decision to focus on spirits categories other than gin this year.

“Gin’s still a hugely important category to us,” he said.

“But we just felt that in the last year, two years, so much of the conversation had been about gin and we decided we wanted to look at some other aspects of the trade that are really developing – looking at different things that are happening in whisky – not just Scotch but Japanese and American; looking at the rum category, which is fantastically vibrant as well; looking at tequila.

“There’s gin festivals, gin dinners, gin events. It was just about looking at some of the other categories in the trade.”

And Inverarity Morton will aim to make the event “bigger and better next year”, while retaining its “underground roughness”. It is likely to stay at SWG3, where it has been staged both years.

“It’s not corporate in any way,” said Cumming.

“We could take it somewhere else and probably make more money out of it.

“But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about the quality of the event, and I think the venue is a huge part of that.”