Bar Convent Berlin 2018. With an eye on Italy

The Bar Convent Berlin 2018 leaves me a bittersweet impression. Many positive aspects, as usual, but with some critical issues. Especially for our country.

Italy to the B.C.B 2018

The painful notes …

The Convent Bar was a missed opportunity for Italy, that’s what I think. It will not happen again shortly to have the full attention of the operators, to be the nation of honor as in 2018. Italian’s industry operators didn’t move in a coordinated way, that union that is strength. Maybe this is not the site to talk about it, maybe it’s better not to mix politics with alcohol, but it pains me to observe how other countries have exploited and exploit such opportunities better.

With brands of considerable size worldwide, from Campari & Martini down, I expected a better focus on Italy as a whole, not just bringing water to your mill. I personally believe that if a system grows in general, it will inevitably be the main player to reap the greatest benefits. So it would also be the interest of the top players to grow small brands, even those competing. I expected, magnificent pavilions, handmade and with love by skilled Italian artisans; or maybe in vintage clothes; or citrus storms. In short: something that managed to capture the attention of visitors, taking advantage of the international collective imagination populated by Made in Italy and by our millennial history. I definitely expected a lot more from Italy.


Italy that I liked


Let’s start from the Gin. Without a doubt the initiative to team up with some local producers, led by friends of was a good choice. As I have just said it, we must join forces,  and the results will certainly come. Grouping the producers of Gin, to appear united on such an important international showcase, all in the name of Made in Italy, is an idea that I really liked.

Fortunately, many positive aspects: the Italian presence at the Bar Convent has been like every year massive. Growing brands with the economic capacity to participate in such events, and growing visitors coming from all over Italy. Each alchol category has been well represented, with bitters and vermouth making it master.

The Gin of Bar Convent Berlin 2018: the goodies and trends

My Golden Palm 2018 Gin BCB: Boatyard Gin
Of course, at the Bar Convent it is impossible to taste everything and we are not in the best conditions for a careful tasting. But I have no doubts. The most interesting Gin I’ve tasted this year comes from Ireland.

The Boatyard is a fantastic product in every respect. From base alcohol, distilled on its own; to the label, which shows the percentages of “botanicals” of the recipe (with so much Juniper); up to the liquid, really remarkable. Present in two versions, I particularly loved the Old Tom.

Gin in cask and hybrids

There were many Gin aged in barrels. As expected, a growing category. Fun to produce, though, perhaps, a little less fun to drink. I always taste them with a lot of curiosity, but I often remain disappointed. I believe that a product that does not mix well with tonic water should not be called Gin, which is why I hope that in the future this line of products will start to use other denominations.

There are also many “distortions” present: hybrids like Gin-Tequila and Gin-Rhum, tears of unicorns, those that change color, extremely sugary liqueurs. In short, many have thrown themselves into the market, but without substantial innovations.

Il gin al rum, proposto da Juliet









The seminars, the word of the experts


It was said that innovations, not just new things. And David Gluckman, that is, the one who “invented” several very successful brands (Baileys & Tanqueray No. Ten to name a couple) in his seminar explained to us this: the real innovations are still to come in the Gin category.

Personally, a large part of the drive to continue to return to the Convent Bar is to participate in the seminars offered. That’s where the real substance is. To hear these people  is always formative. And also this 2018 edition of the B.C.B. he has not betrayed. Remarkable the offer, very varied and not only focused on bartenders.
Simon Ford’s and Charles Roll (formerly owner of Plymouth and now co-founder of Fever Tree) seminar  was also very interesting. The reconstruction of the history of the first premium tonics brand has shown how attention to detail always pays. As well as the choice of the best raw materials from which to start.


Finally, it is important to mention the Seminar Genever-ology by Philipp Duff. Which delighted us making us taste some really unobtainable goodies, from the Netherlands and beyond.






The events of the Bar Convent Berlin 2018

The Convent Bar, also called the “Christmas of the bartenders”, was obviously packed with evening parties, scattered throughout Berlin.



Manuele Boccatelli dietro il bancone


Among all I like to mention the inauguration of the project by Manuele Broccatelli, who has started the bar section of the Layla, a stylish restaurant / cocktail bar all eco-sustainable, with drinks prepared from elements grown inside. Congratulations.





In short, the Convent Bar in Berlin is well worth a mass. So many people with whom to exchange opinions, so much to learn, in a generally relaxed atmosphere.

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