What's Brewing Q&A with Elliot Gard
Show Director of 2018’s Caffè Culture shares his highlights and reveals big plans for the coming year
Q What was your highlight of 2018?
My biggest – both personally and professionally – was playing a big part in the successful relaunch of Caffè Culture. Having not worked on the show for five years, it gave me a huge amount of pride reinvigorating a show that needed refocusing and, as a result, has a much clearer vision for the future. It was very satisfying hearing positive feedback from a number of highly respected industry figures, who genuinely enthused about the show and have since decided to exhibit again after being away for the past few years.
Q What are your plans for 2019?
It’s going to be a very busy year for us on two fronts – to continue building on the success of Caffè Culture and to expand our show portfolio as Living Media Events. We are currently researching a number of new show ideas with a view to launching two this year and have some fantastic new feature content to unveil at the show. We are really excited to introduce ‘The Roaster’s Room’, which is an educational and interactive program focusing on the emerging artisan roasters scene. We will also be working with a host of strategic partners to deliver several satellite events, ranging from a two-day Exit Strategy Conference to extending our TED Talks-style Coffee Studies programme (2019).
Q What are your predictions for trends this year?
I think coffee drinkers (and consumers in general) continue to be far more discerning and will make more choices based on the provenance and authenticity of the coffee they drink. I think that we will also see a significant increase in the range of alternative milks, which is being driven by the 3.5 million vegans in the UK today. Alongside soy and coconut-rice milk, oat milk seems to be taking the lead. With Cold Brew moving into the mainstream, Nitro Brew Coffee will continue to grow, and with sustainability and waste being such an emotive issue, particularly among millennials, manufacturers and retailers will continue to improve their credentials.
Q Do you have any plans to take any events out of London?
Yes, we do. I can’t say too much yet, as we are still in the planning stage, but we are getting closer to launching a ‘northern’ Caffè Culture... so watch this space!
Q What do you think is the key to a successful trade event?
For me it’s ‘value’. You have to make sure that you deliver the highest number of quality visitors to the show who are genuinely motivated to do business with your exhibitors, who all have to see a return on their investment. Creating interesting and engaging feature content that excites and resonates with attendees is essential and will mean they walk away from the show feeling energised and having gained some valuable new insight that they can then apply to their business. However, not to be underestimated is the whole show experience.
Q Why should people make sure they come along this year?
Our intention is to make Caffè Culture the unmissable trade event of the year. Visitors who come to the show will be able to see an unrivalled line-up of industry experts in our extensive talks programme across three theatres, gain a unique insight into the UK’s artisan roasters scene, explore a larger show with more innovative exhibitors and get the opportunity to engage with and meet like-minded individuals from the industry. This is all against the dramatic backdrop of the Business Design Centre, which is a pleasure visiting in itself!
Caffè Culture 2019 will be held on 28-29 October – so put the date in your diary and look out for details