Belgian trade show extends reach to attract more UK visitors

Venuez 2015

Hospitality show Venuez in Belgium is extending its reach to attract more people from the trade across northern Europe including the UK.

Taking place in Antwerp on March 21 and 22, the annual show presents the latest in drinks, food and design not just for the Belgian market but beyond national borders.

Returning for a sixth time, it is attracting more attendees than before from the UK after seasoned trade show organiser Andy Bishop joined the team in an international role last year.

He said: “The show has been becoming more international over the past three to four years, and people are already coming from other countries including the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark and the UK.

“It is so easy to get to Antwerp from other countries – you can get to Brussels from London in two hours. It has become the show for northern Europe.”

It has an international line-up of speakers for its #WTF Conference – “What’s the Future?” – including Marian Beke from The Gibson bar in London, Alastair Burgess from Happiness Forgets and Original Sin bars in London, and Italian spirits specialist Giuseppe Gallo who has opened Bar8 at Gastrovino in London.

Other speakers include Roman Milostivy of Chainaya in Moscow, Marc Alvarez from elBarri Adria in Barcelona, Scott Baird from Trip Dog in San Francisco, and Sullivan Doh from Le Syndicat in Paris.

Highlighting the role of women in the bar industry, a segment on Leading Ladies will feature London-based consultant Esther Medina Cuesta, Carina Tsou of Candelaria in Paris, Belgium’s Diageo Reserve World Class winner Hannah van Ongevalle, and Christina Schneider, formerly at Happiness Forgets but next at new restaurant Som Saa in Spitalfields.

Drinks products being showcased are focused on premium and craft spirits, liqueurs and beers. Exhibitors also include international designers and catering suppliers.

Besides big names such as Duvel Moortgat, Bacardi Martini, Nespresso, Bombay Sapphire, Monkey 47, Hendricks’s Gin, Coca-Cola, Fever-Tree, Diageo, Schweppes and Campari, smaller brands will include Blind Tiger Gin, Loopuyt Gin, Buss Spirits, and Omer Beer.

With the show taking place in Park Spoor Noord during the daytime, events are also running at bars across the city in the evening including Antwerp Cocktail Night.

This year, the organisers – who also publish trade publication Venuez – are focusing on the theme of “the sixth sense”. This is described as an expansion of the traditional five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and feel. “The sixth sense is an additional, difficult-to-express sensation stirred by external stimuli. It is the X-factor of the hospitality industry, an unknown value that gives extra cachet to a hospitality concept. We look out for the unnamed given that creates the hospitality industry of the future.”

Tickets cost €25 (£19) if registering in advance or €40 (£31) on the door. To register and for more details, visit

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