Focus on the New York Bar Convent Brooklyn
As someone with the greatest affection for Cognac, after visiting the production region numerous times, and interacting with brand teams around the globe, I can definitely say that I always feel welcomed whenever I walk up to one of the Cognac house booths at Bar Convent Brooklyn. I love seeing the new, young, and enthusiastic faces of the bartenders and brand managers standing behind their product booths drawing in attendees with the promise of a quality product, and intriguing them with modern cocktails and expressions. Conferences like Bar Convent Brooklyn are the best places to grow, and reinvigorate a brand, or category’s audience, with so many likeminded peers gathering in one place looking to discover new products, and learn more about the products they love. Bar Convent Brooklyn is definitely a place to share cocktail ideas and discuss concepts.
Bar Convent Brooklyn, a place to (re)discover Cognac
As New York has long been considered one of the top cities in the world for cocktails and a city with such a great history for leading the way in the cocktail renaissance, it only made sense that Bar Convent would find its North American home in New York. As much time as we spend on our digital devices, such as the one you’re reading this on, there’s no amount of digital marketing can ever replace getting your product in the hands of consumers and decision makers. At events such as Bar Convent Brooklyn, you have the opportunity to deliver a positive experience and create lasting impressions through in-person interactions. Because of this, it’s important to select the right brand representative. A personality who embodies the brand values, but can also deliver brand information and tastings to the individuals in a comfortable and organic manner. With hundreds of brand experiences and products to select from you want your booth to stand out and draw people’s attention, but your job isn’t done there. Once you have someone’s attention, it’s important to have a familiar, or approachable face to close the deal, preferably with something unique to offer.
Cognac in cocktails
One of the biggest hurdles I have seen with Cognac over the years is the education of the category; bringing Cognac into the new world of mixed drinks. Don’t get me wrong, Cognac is absolutely delicious neat, however, in recent years, as the Cognac producers are seeing more and more need for a cocktail specific expression, we are seeing a lot of brands releasing lines specifically dedicated to mixing in cocktails. There is no doubt the classic VS, VSOP, XO, etc… are amazing in the right cocktails and classics such as the French 75, Sazerac, and so on, but in today’s world we are using it in punches, and tropical cocktails, recognizing the broad applications of such a distinct product. Brands at the forefront of this change in the modern beverage industry have had great success, and are leading the way for others to diversify their portfolios and reach a new, generally younger audience, strengthening brand loyalty for future generations.
In particular, in New York, where most products are first released in North America, we are seeing more and more venues using Cognac on their menus in assorted applications. For instance, you have world class bars such as Mace who have a super intriguing cocktail, the Opal Basil, named after their unique ingredient used in the drink. However, this isn’t the most intriguing part of the drink for me; what I love is that they have created a unique cocktail with Cognac infused with white asparagus; something you wouldn’t have seen just a few years ago. Other top venues in the city, and arguably the world, such as Death & Co., Clover Club, Manhatta, and Maison Premiere, just to name a few, are all doing great things with Cognac. Maison Premiere even has a Tableside Sazerac Service if you’re feeling like a classic.
Connecting with people
Not only do you have access to the top bartenders from around the country at Bar Convent Brooklyn, but also in attendance are decision makers such as venue managers, beverage directors and owners who are all looking to learn more about the products available on the market and taste new products. Wandering the halls of Industry City this year, it was great to be able to see friends we have sorely missed face time with, but also to taste products both old and new in different formats. Some booths were serving stronger, more booze forward drinks, while others were taking a fresh approach. This variety of cocktail and brand options allowed everyone to see just how versatile the Cognac category is. This is a great way to slowly, and surely continue to pivot the perception of the Cognac category in a new, positive direction as a delicious tipple not only to be respected and sipped, but also having the depth and diversity to stand out, and even bond, a delicious balanced cocktail.