Athens Bar Show welcomes 12,000 visitors

The Athens Bar Show (ABS) 2022 returned for its 12th iteration from 8-9 November, welcoming 12,000 guests.

Taking place in Greece’s capital city, the on-trade show was deemed ‘particularly successful’ by its organisers, and ran this year with the tagline ‘the stirring of future bars’.

For its 2022 event, a premium and ultra-premium brands exhibition space was established for the first time, for the ‘highest quality spirits to be tested in an environment with corresponding concentration’, plus the ABS combined its closing party with a pop-up bar.

Almost 90 exhibitors were present, and 12,000 were reported to have walked through ABS’s gates.

More than 1,000 workers and builders helped set up the event, which hosted more than 80 seminars.

Exclusive comments

Speaking exclusively to The Spirits Business, Argiris Oikonomakos, brand manager for BM Drinks, said: “We’re really happy about the [reception to the bar show]. We can form attachments with other brands, people can get to trust us, and we’ll bring it over and make a deal.”

BM Drinks is the distributor for Halewood Artisanal Spirits’ brands, including Dead Man’s Fingers Rum and Samuel Gelston’s whiskey.

Lagoudakis Stelios, junior brand manager for Jameson, Greece, said: “First of all, it was really nice for us to communicate our new baby here in Greece: Jameson IPA. You can see that we have Jameson Black Barrel in the show, and Jameson Caskmates IPA and Stout editions.

“During the show, we have had the chance to communicate with the consumers and to the bar industry our new additions to our portfolio.

“Whiskey and beers actually have a really strong connection in their production. So, we can see that people are really interested in whiskies like that. Most of the consumers are interested to learn about Caskmates.

“This year to be honest, it’s a really great year because we don’t have any Covid-19 restrictions. The weather is really nice, people are really enthusiastic about the show, and we can see that the crowd is really happy and interested to learn new things. So, this year for me is a really successful year after almost three years.”

Kyriakos Koutroumpis, brand ambassador, south Greece, Gruppo Campari, said: “I’ve seen very good projects. And it’s always nice to see people from the industry from around the world. Friends that we meet every year in [cocktail competitions]. And also there are some amazing guests shifts going on in the centre of Athens.”

Mijenta Tequila’s first visit 

Appearing at ABS for the first time was US-based Tequila brand Mijenta, which was recently awarded B Corp certification – the first Tequila brand to achieve this feat.

Co-founder Juan Coronado said he was “amazed” by the quality of the show.

“We launched Mijenta about a month and a half ago here in Athens,” he noted. “For us, it’s about taking the time to do it, right, rather than blowing it all at once. We’re in the little belly button of what’s happening around there, at least I feel that way.

“I did my seminar, and I focused on sustainability and the prevention and preservation of agave, rather than going into branding forensics. We opened up a little bit imagination and the curiosity of many that attended, and they came after so many questions.

“It’s all under the same dress code – we all come from hospitality here, and that’s something that you cannot change. It doesn’t matter what brand of suit or T-shirt you’re wearing…we’re all under the hospitality umbrella.”

Metaxa Cocktail Competition

Greek amber spirit Mextaxa hosted its global cocktail competition final at the ABS, and crowned Greek bartender Pavlos Chondros, representing Rou Skg bar in Thessaloniki, as its winner.

The competition tasked bartenders to craft a cocktail under the theme ‘Unconventional Aperitif Moment’, while also showcasing a sustainable approach using Metaxa 12 Stars.

In second place was Soma Feke, representing Botaniq Turai Kastely in Hungary, followed by third prize-winner Leonardo Giacomello of Scarfes Bar in London, UK.

Twelve finallists presented their drinks to a panel of four judges, including: Georgia Georgakopoulou, bar manager for The Clumsies; Neil Ridley, drinks writer, presenter and consultant for Cask Strength Creative; Scott Fitzgerald, head of on-trade for Rémy Cointreau Paris; and Vasilis Kyritsis, founder of bars Line and The Clumsies.

Metaxa unveiled a Grecian-inspired limited edition bottle called Grande Fine in September. The brand is owned by Rémy Cointreau.

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Author: Alice Brooker