Preview: Imbibe Live 2014

By Lauren Houghton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wine, Bartender

This year’s Imbibe Live will return to London’s Olympia Grand on 1-2 July
This year’s Imbibe Live will return to London’s Olympia Grand on 1-2 July
Imbibe Live, the annual exhibition for anyone who sources, buys or serves drinks in the licensed on-trade, will return to London’s Olympia Grand on 1-2 July.

Imbibe Live is the only event that focuses on all on-trade drinks, from beer to wine, spirits to cocktails, tea to coffee and soft drinks to water. The days run from 10:30 to 17:30 and will see a busy schedule of seminars, masterclasses and tastings, with over 70 different sessions to choose from.

Industry specialists from every category of drink will be leading the different experiences, creating an exhibition that should offer a number of new ideas and networking opportunities to anyone in the drinks business.

Wines, beers, cocktails

There are a number of demonstrations catering to those working on the alcohol side of the drinks trade. Competitions such as Bartenders vs. Sommeliers and the Sommelier £5K challenge, which will see the contestant with the keenest wine knowledge scoop £5000, are not to be missed.

In addition to this, Imbibe will host Wine World​, with seminars that focus on diverse topics such as an exploration of the country’s best house wines, and the revolution of red wines in Europe. Then there is the Shake It​ area, where experts will explore topics such as lost classic cocktails and the building blocks needed for a cocktail to appeal to all senses.

Sommeliers can register for the Sommelier Hub​, and the Taste Zone is not to be missed, where visitors can sample some drinks that are contributing to the craft beer revolution and try cocktails that have been matured to fit the current trend.

Have a look at our breakdown of Imbibe Live’s wine events and activities,​ its beer events and activities,​ and its spirit and cocktails events and activities​ to plan for what you don’t want to miss.

Training on offer

With two ‘Training Zones’ on offer at Imbibe Live, as well as a number of masterclasses, those who are looking to improve their skills in areas as such as bartending, matching food and wine, or learning how to build up their brand will be able to find advice at the event.

The Liquid Profits ​area focuses on the business side of the drinks on trade, with seminars such as Train Your Staff, Sell more Wine and Build Your Brand, Boost Your Sales. Industry experts will be offering tips on the language staff should use to encourage customers to buy, as well as offering ideas for promotions and using free online resources to help your business succeed.

Training Zone B​ will host a range of bartending courses, both international and advanced. Training Zone A​ has a varied list of classes available, including Spirits: Product vs Package, which looks at how to assess spirits ‘blind’, and Beer Academy, aimed at those who want to tap into the growing interest in good beer and are unsure where to start.

BigHospitality’s top things to do and see at Imbibe Live 2014:

  • ‘Eat Your Drink’ edible cocktail competition

Imbibe Live has teamed up with cocktail confectionersSmith & Sinclair to offer drinks enthusiasts the chance to create their dream alcoholic sweet. The cocktail candy creations may contain up to five ingredients, including a base (up to three spirits), mixer and garnish or coating. Imbibe’s judging panel are looking for originality, creativity and most importantly taste.

  • £5K Sommelier Challenge

Hosted on Imbibe Live’s Centre Stage, the competition sees 18 sommeliers with the keenest nose, the sharpest palate and the deepest wine knowledge battle it out in a three-round contest to be crowned winner and take home £5,000 cash prize. 

  • The Secrets of Showmanship

Sam Bompas (Bompas & Parr), Ally Martin (Talented Mr Fox) and Brendan Walker host a session on  adding showmanship to service, creating experience and how environment, sound design, scripting and narrative can work with food and drink.

  • Bartenders vs Sommeliers - The Final

Last year the bartenders scooped the prize, but this year all bets are off as to which side will win.

  • The Ultimate Cocktail Competition

Star mixologists battle it out to win, should result in some interesting concoctions.

Related topics: Business, Events & Awards, Pubs & Bars

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