Roma Bar Show in a Nutshell
According to the motto “Ready to be Shaken” the first Roma Bar Show took place in the beautiful Palazzo dei Congressi in the EUR district of Rome. Palazzo dei Congressi is a mix of the monumental neo-classical style and the refined rationalist avant-guard of the early Twentieth century. With a size of 2,500 square metres, the venue offered enough space for the 200 exhibitors and over 2,000 brands. Visitor numbers for the two days was nearly 10,000.
The very first Roma Bar Show, organised by RIBS SRL of Andrea Fofi, Fabio Bacchi, Leonardo Leuci, The Jerry Thomas Project and Giuseppe Gallo, was a great success. I was very happy to support the event with an announcement on my website that was read by almost 2,000 people. It was pretty clear from the beginning that I would go. It is said that “All roads lead to Rome” – keep that in mind for next year.
Let’s have a look at what had happened at the first edition
The spatial conditions of the chosen venue were ideal to have thematic areas. As a big fan of agave distillates, I was excited about The Mexico Village, that showcased beside the famous Mezcal and Tequila also Sotol, Bacanora, Rum, Pox, Sciroppi and many others. The Mexico Village was a tribute to Mexican culture and how the spirit is linked to the traditions. To transfer you straight to Latin America a Mariachi band were going around all the time. No wonder one of the best agave bars is based in town, and the team of “La Punta Expendio de Agave” live and breathe agave.
Gin lovers were also satisfied finding a 200 square metre area with both local and foreign products. Gin is undergoing an unstoppable growth and there are thousands of different varieties. One of the highlights, the new No.3 Gin bottle was presented at the Pallini stand.
What impressed me the most …
was Velier with their different spaces. A stand that featured The Perfect Cocktail Bar was using a wide selection of Velier products. There was a Rum Maschine and an area dedicated to the main stages of Velier’s history. The cherry on the cake was the Extra Perimetral, a space where you could find fruits, sweeteners and spices never seen in Europe and where they had to have additional permission to import some of the products. It was a very sensory opportunity to explore the original flavours and find the aromatic later on in the products. Furthermore, they had built an avant-garde laboratory with a rotovap, centrifuge and all the technical equipment a bartender could dream of. Bartenders had the possibility to use the products and could try their hand at processing and tasting cocktails born from the union of these products with a selection of Velier spirits – an amazing playground for bartenders.
On the second floor, I dived into the world of Vermouth, Amaro, Bitters and, of course, Grappa. I have to admit, Grappa has a new fan! One of the highlights was the RBS Academy, a series of workshops held by some of the most important Italian and international bartenders.
The rooftop terrace was a good opportunity to enjoy some Gin & Tonic and Champagne under the Italian sun while watching the artistic programme. Food wasn’t missing either. Italian food trucks found their place in the outdoor area serving perfect food to soak up the alcohol.
Pictures were provided by Roma Bar Show.
Some more highlights to mention:
- The presentation of Amaro Venti at the Rinaldi 1957 stand, an amaro that is made from 20 botanicals from the 20 Italian regions…the amaro that unites Italy!
- The new Jack Daniel’s Rye that will be released in Italy from next November
- The ‘call for army’ of Bordiga which needs people to hand pick the herbs and flowers to make their spirits in Cuneo, north-west Italy
- During the event, Italy had wonderful news about Mario Farulla’s Baccano in Rome that entered The World’s Best Bars at the 70th position
- Arrival of “La Classica 2019”, the cycling event attended by cyclist bartenders from all over the world
Education & Networking – The Main Topic
The lineup of speakers was massive and a good mix of local and international experts, just to name a few Ian Burrell, Luca Gargano, Jim Meehan, Gian Paolo Di Pierro, Simone Caporale, Marian Beke, Flavio Angiolillo, Alex Frezza and Patrick Pistolesi. Among the visitors were, of course, bar legends such as Salvatore Calabrese and Peter Dorelli.
Sharing experiences and knowledge was the main subject. When I talked to some Italian bartenders they told me that an event like this was long overdue. The number of visitors proves it, it seemed to me that the whole Italian bar community was present. I was particularly struck by the vibe of hospitality and I had two great days and the time passed by too quickly.
Side events and guest shifts were not be missing, of course. The city was also the stage for around forty events during the night. I was happy to meet the lovely team of Boutique Bar Budapest behind Baccano’s bar counter. Just as with every bar show, it was impossible to attend all the events.
The Roma Bar Show project was born out of a need for the industry, its businesses and those working within it to meet and engage at an Italian event with international exposure, with the aim of raising the profile of the spirit industry and mixology in Italy. I would say “Congratulations” and “Mission accomplished”. I will be there again next year.
It is said that “All roads lead to Rome” – keep that in mind for next year.
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