When the fifth annual Barra México returns on June 9 and 10 to Mexico City’s massive Centro Citibanamex, it will do so in a larger convention space than last year, welcoming more attendees, speakers and presenters, and offering an even more comprehensive educational program. With all of that “more” to experience, attendees will encounter (or, rather, generate) considerably less of one very specific thing. Barra México co-founders Ara Carvallo and Paula Garcia have announced that in its fifth year, their beverage-industry-focused event is about to become the world’s first carbon-neutral bar show.
Five years represents a pivotal moment in the life of a bar show. By that time, such a large-scale undertaking wants to have been fully embraced by the industry it serves, becoming a not-to-miss fixture on its attendees’ schedules. To ensure that Barra Méxicosits among the pantheon of bar shows that includes the likes of Berlin, Paris, Athens, Kiev, Singapore, New Orleans and elsewhere, Carvallo and Garcia made great strides last year, putting sustainability at the heart of their brand’s ethos, eliminating single-use plastics from their event and employing water-saving technologies. They also set the lofty goal of going carbon-neutral in Year 5.
The co-founders announced their achievement in a release: “The carbon emitted by the show will be compensated through two reforestation and environmental conservation projects: one in Oaxaca and one in Chiapas, verified by ProNatura,” Carvallo says. “Being aware of the tremendous impact of animal agriculture in climate change—18 percent of total greenhouse emissions come from animal agriculture, more than all transport emissions combined—we have committed to decarbonize our food options by offering a wide variety of plant-based and vegetarian options.”
Boasting a few more firsts, Barra México and Bar Tailors will present the inaugural Speed Rack Mexico; the women’s speed-bartending competition will kick off the long weekend at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at the Lucerna 32 event space in Mexico City’s Colonia Juárez neighborhood. “In the past few years, as [Speed Rack U.S.] has grown, we have been able to find the right partners in different countries who are committed to their community and who really want to offer the Speed Rack experience to their home country,” said Speed Rack co-founder Lynnette Marrero. “Barra México was the perfect partner: It is an event run by women, and they have created a strong platform. The time was right to activate the Mexican community to support women bartenders.” Marrero and Speed Rack co-founder Ivy Mix will present their seminar “More Than Just a Woman: Moving Away From Tokenism” on June 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the Save the Vaquita room.
At the Citibanamex Center, the Crystal Head Vodka Startender Competition returns for a third year as does the convention of naming the seminar spaces after endangered species—the vaquita porpoise, the jaguar and Mexico City’s own axolotl salamander have the honors.
“We are very excited to celebrate five years of Barra México,” co-founder Paula Garcia says. “We’re very happy to see so many bartenders from all over the world coming to celebrate with us. Mexico City is claiming its spot as a cocktail capital with some amazing bars, bar talent and many new and interesting bar concepts opening.” Attendees can check out one of the newest venues in town, Comedor Mazaryk, at a welcome party hosted by Diageo on June 8.
Among the 38 speakers presenting at the show this year is the consulting team of Kate Gerwin and Blaze Montana. There are “so many reasons,” Gerwin says, that she and Montana will be returning to Barra Méxicofor their second year. “For one, the sustainability and social responsibility of the show; a zero-carbon footprint as a goal, rooms that support endangered species, [support for] disabled hospitality workers,” she says. “The ways [Carvallo and Garcia] go the extra mile for the betterment of the industry is unsurpassed in any cocktail event. I want to be on board for this and more!”
Translated into Spanish via headphones and live translators, Gerwin and Montana’s session “Bar Fundamentals” will again focus on concrete matters of the bar such as cost control, efficiency and time management. “Bar Fundamentals are often overlooked,” Gerwin says. “It’s all too common for a bar to be struggling and looking at how to get more people in the doors, but with proper training, inspiration and support, the staff is the real key to a successful business. We focus on the basics of bar training and how they correlate to profits, ergonomics, happy staff and happy customers.” Their session is scheduled for 4 p.m. on June 10 in the Save the Jaguar room.
Tickets to Barra México are reserved for industry members who must apply through the bar show’s website. Once approved, memberships are $70USD, and include entry to the show both days (11 a.m.–6 p.m.) and admittance to all the parties outside of the show, plus a members-only area of the site that will host all of this year’s seminar videos (with subtitles); party invitations throughout the year; and discounts on bar equipment.
For more information, speaker bios and a complete run-of-show, visit BarraMéxico.com.
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