NORTH East landlords and beer makers will today stand shoulder to shoulder with the “big boys” of brewing as a new global event heads to the Sage in Gateshead.
Licensed Trade International aims to showcase the best of the region’s pubs, bars and breweries alongside major brands like Heineken, to try and boost the area’s economy and tourism.
Event director Dr Anthony Molloy said with the decline of the region’s manufacturing heritage it was time to find something new to show the world we are good at.
“What can we do in these troubled times to drive the region forward? Well, the answer is to consolidate and find strength in something that we are exceptional at doing.
“This is quite simply, our tourism, hospitality and leisure industry.
“Within Newcastle city centre there are some 255 licensed premises, making it one of the most populated drinking scenes in the UK. While the North East is still claimed to be in the top three for a good night out.
“It is claimed that the industry employs some 7,000 people with a combined turnover of over £250M in its licensed venues.
“The closure of the big breweries such as Vaux, Federation and Newcastle Breweries only adds to these troubled times. However, there are still some shining lights in the region – The microbreweries.
“The sales of craft ales are starting to take hold, not just in the UK but globally and these microbreweries are the foreseeable future of the region and its economy.”
Alongside the likes of Anarchy Brew Co and Durham Brewery visitors to the conference will find some of the big names in international brewing, including Heineken, Molson Coors and Carlsberg.
“Research tells us that there has only ever been one company from the North East that has been showcased at any of the other Licensed trade events in the UK over the past 5 years and that is Fentimans of Hexham,” said Dr Molloy.
“You will not find it strange to find out that of all the North Eastern beverage manufacturers, Fentimans is showing the greatest rate of growth.
“In terms of pure sales, they are constantly networking with the trade outside the region. Sales, growth and business development is all about face to face and relationship building, so holding a trade event creates the face to face, the familiarity, the trust and the possibilities for business’ to develop and grow.”
The show organisers claim it will feature a “one off, world’s first unveiling of something rather special,” alongside product launches and announcements.
“After hours of tough negotiations with hundreds of people, we have successfully brought London to the region for two days,” said Dr Molloy.
The two day event, starting on April 9, will also see cocktail and wine seminars with various big brand names and NYC mixologist Tim Cooper, and a “benevolent award ceremony” to celebrate the North East through prizes including best bar, best late night venue, best local beverage manufacturer, best mixologist and best restaurant.
“It’s a bit Saturday night TV, but it brings people together, creates rivalry and competition to raise standards,” said Dr Molloy.
“Everyone who votes will play a part in raising standards in the region. The awards will be given to the winners who have created something for the industry to follow and emulate.
“And to top it all off, we are also looking to hold a template event in Ontario Canada in 2014. This will allow North Eastern microbreweries to showcase their product ranges and services in the Northern American market. The two events in UK and Canada will run in tandem, to create stronger transatlantic trade agreements between the two countries.”
For more information and to vote in the awards visit www.licensedtradeinternational.com.