In just a few days, LaLa Land will have a beverage takeover like no other as the 3rd Annual BevCon comes to town. From August 19th until 21st beverage industry only convention is making its debut in Los Angeles but was birthed in Charleston, South Carolina by Angel Postell in and her dynamic team in 2016. Bevcon is an enlightening, three-day, networking event for everyone in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic tipple industry, filled with educational seminars presented by the best in the business, both domestic and globally. Angel took a few moments to share her thoughts on all things beverage, trends, and the exciting plans for BevCon 2018.
CannyCandi: What are your insights/ opinions in today’s current beverage culture?
Angel Postell: I think it’s really exciting. The chef side of things has gotten a lot of attention and support over the last several years. Beverages are really coming out on their own. There are communities [of people] dedicating themselves to beverages a lot more, and placing more emphasis on the imbibing culture in general. Also, people are enjoying drinks and becoming more thoughtful about what they drink instead of just ‘drinking’ to drink. They are asking questions i.e. “Where’s this wine is from?” and then getting excited about the educational aspect of their drink.
CC: Do you think anything is lacking in the beverage culture?
AP: Not exactly lacking, but I was recently reading something about emerging countries developing beverage products. This is exciting because it shows that you don’t have to be in a certain area to grow grapes to make wine. Plus, brewing has become such a big thing, same for distilling, and there’s such a big interest in mezcal. I think the next horizon is bringing this beverage movement global and exposing interesting techniques and practices all over the world.
CC: Where do you see the culture going?
AP: I’m very excited about what’s done in Paris, Amsterdam, and Mexico regarding the different techniques used there. It’s cool! Those beverage professionals have different styles and preparations. We are just as advanced in America as they are, but we just do the same things in a different way. Also, there’s a huge interest in popups. I think that the culture today is interested in what’s new and the use of social media urges bars to be creative with concepts and approaches. Constantly changing menus and keeping things new, will become more normal. And yet, there will still be places where ‘the classics’ will always be available. So, there will be a good mix of the [classics and modern concepts].
CC: BevCon seems like an ideal platform for smaller producers to share their product line. Was that one of your original intentions?
AP: Yes. My team was working with small craft producers who didn’t have the money or resources to do the bigger events. They wanted their products out there for people to try. So, I saw a void to fill. One of the main core elements of BevCon is to give artisanal craft producers the space to showcase themselves in a meaningful way, without spending a lot of money. We wanted to provide a space to connecting small brands to industry professionals who can help get the smaller brand products on the markets or get the product in establishments. Also, we work with midsize and larger producers who are showing their limited reserve products. They have an equal voice [at Bevcon, also,] without overpowering the smaller producers. As a result, we have seen the smaller ones receive great media exposure [through the event] which has taken them to a whole new level!
CC: Are there any learning sessions you are looking forward to attending?
AP: This year we’re offering One-Day master classes, for the first time which provides attendees a chance to really get the knowledge on how to achieve industry and business goals and education on specific trends. This is much better than bouncing around to different classes since attendees can stick with one specific track. I’ll attend the class on how to successfully open a bar, (we have great people teaching that), and I, personally, want to open a bar. We have one on the influence of Hip Hop on the wine and spirits industry. That’s going to be really cool. The Hip Hop culture is influential in so many ways and I love that it has such a presence in the beverage world.
CC: Why was Los Angeles, California (L.A.) chosen as the host location for this year and next?
AP: It was almost surreal as to how we chose L.A. We always wanted to move the event to different cites, but I was invited to L.A. which was my first time there. And I just fell in love with the city! It’s such a cool community with lots of energy, excitement, and diversity. The beverage scene has definitely blossomed there. Hospitality is so genuine in all the neighborhoods with great vibes. L.A. is more accessible than Charleston is, so more international guests have been very receptive to participating this year. I’m so pumped to be there and everyone has been very open and interested in hosting this year.
CC: I love the idea of pop-up bars all around the area. Is this a new idea for this year?
AP: We had popups in Charleston, but it’s more focused this year. Each night will feature three locations with guest bartenders making drinks paired with a special menu. These popups will be the only activity open to the public. It’s great for social media because people can actually meet the bartenders and post all the excitement instantly. Guests can hop around since there’s no cost to attend. Just visit and order off the provided menu. Bar venues range rooftops, to speakeasies, and natural wine bars spanning Downtown, Koreatown, and Hollywood. I’m really looking forward to these because some of the best cocktails I have consumed have been at the BevCon popups.
CC: What else do you envision for the future of BevCon?
AP: BevCon started out as a hobby of mine. My teams and I foresee it as a year-round experience by doing more programming around the country, such as a one-day mini BevCon experience, geared toward a city’s local community. This would work well for key market’s looking for more educational opportunities and exposure. Would be great to capture or record the live sessions and follow up with teleseminars throughout the year, too. And definitely, in a couple years, host an international BevCon. People will never stop eating and drinking, and the industry will always continue to grow globally.