In less than a month, hundreds of cocktail culture influencers and major brands will flock to Mexico City for Barra Mexico, The Mexican Bar Show. Centered around this year’s theme, “The Future of the Bar,” the fourth annual international conference will showcase cutting edge techniques, leading tastemakers, and producers in the alcoholic beverage industry on June 10th – 11th, 2018. Co-founder, Ara Cavallo, took a few moments to pour some details about the anticipated event which includes 26 engaging courses, presentations, and of course killer parties!
CannyCandi: What is your background in the in the cocktail culture industry.
Ara Carvallo: I was a global brand manager for Lucas Bols in Amsterdam (Bols Genever, Bols Liquerus, Galliano) and worked there for 10 years. During the last four years of my experience, I was in charge of running their global bartending competition ‘Bols Around the World.’ Also, I’ve been a bartender for the past 20 years and still work at the Kanarie Club in Amsterdam. My business partner (and co-founder), Paula García, was the brand manager for mixology spirits at México’s largest spirits, wine and beer distributor, La Europea. She is a sommelier graduated and has experience at a winery in New Zealand.
CC: What is the inspiration behind Barra México?
AC: We wanted to create a platform to show off México. The country has great spirits, ingredients, and gastronomy. We believed that a platform, where all members of the industry can gather once a year, would help México’s cocktail industry put a firmer step on the worlds’ bar scene.
CC: Based on the promo videos and website pictures, the event seems very chic, sexy, and edgy. Was this a part of your vision for the event?
AC: The theme of Barra México this year is “The Future of the Bar.” We believe the future of the bar should be based on three pillars:
1) Technology: Bars should use technology to improve guest experiences, increase bar profitability, and staff accountability.
2) Sustainability: [Through sustainability, bar are cleaner, and] provide carbon neutrality, lower water footprint, and veganism.
3) A culture of peace in bars: Facilitate diversity, gender equity, equality, non-violence.
We strongly believe that we can only achieve this future if more women become a part of the industry leaders. Therefore, the key visual of Barra México 2018 are 12 of the best bartenders in México (who happen to be women).
CC: What makes México City so attractive for major cocktail culture events?
AC: México City is an ideal place to experience multicultural, cosmopolitan cocktail culture, and hosts three of the World’s 100 Best Bars (Limantour at number 14, Fifty Mils Bar at number 61 and Hanky Panky at number 75). Plus, it has an amazing gastronomic scene, including two restaurants ranking in the premier World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (Pujol at number 20 and Quintonil at number 22). México is the 11th largest spirits producer in the world providing Tequila, Mezcal, Sotol, Bacanora, Charanda, and Rum as well as regional spirits like Raicilla and Pox.
CC: What classes would you love to attend at Barra México?
AC: I’m really looking forward to seeing Philp Duff, he is one of my favorite presenters. Also, Tess Pothumus, from Amsterdam, will be giving a seminar on Dutch drinking culture, sponsored by the Dutch Embassy. Additionally, I’m excited about having Kate Gerwin on the stage, she is a strong activist for female empowerment in the bar scene.
CC: What parties are you looking forward to and why?
AC: The opening party is always the best; we are lucky to have the Four Seasons México City hotel as a main sponsor, for three years in a row. We will be hosting the party in the hotel’s main garden which is stunning.
CC: Who are some of the key players/presenters attending this year?
AC: All major brands are exhibiting at Barra México: LVMH will present a spectacular bar in the middle of the event space which will resemble “the bar of the future.” Key players including William Grant, Pernod Ricard, Cuervo, Diageo, Brown Forman, will be there. We will also have the Country of Perú presenting pisco.
CC: Personally, what do you love about planning and hosting Barra México?
AC: Although it is very challenging and at times stressful, the Méxican bartending scene is extremely talented and supportive [of the Barra México team]. The same goes for the Mexican craft spirits industry. It is very creative and positive, dealing with them on a daily basis gives us energy and makes us work harder to make the world more aware of the richness of the Mexican bar & craft spirits scene.