In the space of a couple of days, we’ve met a lot of people, hung out at a supercar bar, and made cocktails live on stage.
And there’s still a couple of hours to go.
Yesterday and today, the folk from Screach made the short hop to The Sage in Gateshead for Licensed Trade International, a trade show featuring some big names in leisure and hospitality.
We set up in the Northern Rock Foundation Hall (near the Red Bull stand, handily) to introduce people to ScreachTV, the plug-and-play system which allows pub owners to create their own personal TV channel featuring offers, ads, messages, social media feeds, news headlines and interactive games such as pub quizzes.
Licensed Trade International was set up to show off some of the North East’s brightest brewers and companies, as well as larger brands such as Heineken. A trade show like this needs something which can display information on talk schedules, as well as the buzz taking place around the event on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, right?
That’s where we came in.
We had ScreachTV set up in four different spots around the venue (not including our own stand), showing the programme for the day, news headlines, Facebook posts, tweets with the #LTIshow hashtag, and Instagram pictures…
We also managed to get it set up on the huge screen in the main hall.
…and on the other big screen at the Benevolent Awards show on Tuesday evening.
So what else did we see and hear on the day? Let’s break it down…
BUILD YOUR OWN BREWERY BUSINESS
There were any number of interesting folk exhibiting around the show this week. The Red Bull and Wildcat energy drink sellers saved our lives a couple of times when we needed a boost, and we got a great coffee from the local legends at Rington’s (buy their loose leaf tea. It’s ace). We also bumped into Collective Design, which came up with the stylings for beautiful pubs such as Lady Greys and The Redhouse in Newcastle.
There were people from breweries such as Anarchy Brew, and a few folk showcasing interesting accessories for the bar…
We also got chatting to Keith Thomas, who founded Brewlab back in 1986 at the University of Sunderland to offer training and guidance to brewers and people looking to set up in the industry.
Brewlab offers a range of courses, from one-day workshops to three-day starter courses and a three-week practical brewing certificate. We had a good chat about what people need to bear in mind when turning their labour of love into a sustainable brewing business.
A BAR IN A CAR
It wasn’t particularly difficult to spot, sitting right in the middle of The Sage atrium. A bar…made out of a white Lamborghini.
This zippy creation was the work of The Customiser, a team of bespoke creators who have come up with intriguing concepts such as the Mini Cooper Desk, a “pooch penthouse” made out of a hollowed-out log and even created a “skip car” out of parts of a Subaru.
We collared owner Ian Laidler for a chat…
One of the big highlights of the show was the appearance of New York mixology experts Willy Shine and Justin Noel for a run-down on how to make better cocktails in your bar.
Willy and Justin are well-known in the Big Apple’s cocktail scene, and travel the world giving advice and guidance to people looking to take their own skills and bar service to the next level. And, seriously, these guys are awesome.
“Cocktail making isn’t just about putting something in a tin, shaking it and letting it go. There’s a lot more to it.
“The modern bartender takes the history of cocktail-making and implements it in the modern day, using the right glassware, the right spirits and the right type of ice. All of this comes into play if you’re going to give someone the best experience.”
He’s not kidding. The morning talk featured all sorts of glimpses into the little things that go into making a cocktail. There are different types of ice, ranging from clinebell to Kold Draft blocks, collins spears and Scotsman pellet ice. There are thousands of different types of spirits, bitters and mixers. And there’s the layout of the bar to consider as well, as the guys suggest having a set-up with everything close by and in its place, to help the bartender develop the “muscle memory” that allows them to reach instinctively for something and still keep their head up to chat to the customer.
We grabbed them for a quick chat afterwards…
We popped back into the hall a bit later on to see Willy and Justin whip up cocktails with their own twist. And our very own Robyn got the chance to make a caipiroska live on stage (I tried it. It was great).
We’ll be on the road again for Enterprise’s Empowerlive roadshow next week, heading around the country to meet more folk from the bar trade. Hope to see you all then…