Pub, bar and restaurant buyers looking to refresh their drinks menus are set to enjoy a tastings extravaganza at next month's Casual Dining show, which returns to the Business Design Centre, in London, on 21-22 February.
Thanks to a 41% increase in exhibitors offering alcoholic beverages for 2018, visitors will be able to see and sample the show's biggest choice of beer, ciders, wines, spirits and mixers yet.
Some of the world's best-selling beer and cider brands are now confirmed, including Heineken UK - Blade, KBE Drinks (Kingfisher Beer Europe), Duvel Moortgat UK, Budweiser Budvar UK, Carlsberg UK, World Beers, and Molson Coors (whose portfolio includes Carling, Coors Light, Staropramen, Cobra, Grolsch, Doom Bar, Worthington's, Caffrey's, Singha, Rekorderlig and Aspall).
Amathus Drinks, Ethnic Brand Marketing, independent spirits agency Mangrove Global, Crooked Beverages (natural alcoholic sodas), Marussia Beverages - importers and distributors of premium brandy, whisky, vodka, gin, liqueur, sherry, tequila, mezcal, wine and sake, Longflint Drinks and Wobblegate Cider Co are also set to exhibit.
"Drinks menus often dictate where many consumers choose to eat, so we're thrilled to be able to offer such a vast and diverse range of alcohol, and, of course, non-alcoholic beverages, to this year's visitors," says Casual Dining's event manager Eva Ellis. "Our exhibitors will be promoting the best choice of quality, innovation and differentiation within the market - everything casual dining restaurant and pub operators need to stay ahead of their competitors."
King of craft & artisanal spirits
As in previous years, the show's Craft Beer & Cider Pavilion and Artisan Spirits Lounge will feature some of the country's leading, and newest, microbreweries and distilleries. With their variety of styles, quality ingredients, innovative flavours, alternative blends, and distinctive branding, craft and speciality drinks can offer operators great scope for menu customisation.
Craft Beer & Cider Pavilion exhibitors include Cranes Drinks, Kraft Beer UK, Black Storm Brewery, Sxollie Cider, Celtic Marches, and Cotswold Cider Company, plus Freedom Brewery and Thistly Cross Cider - joint winners of the show's annual King of Craft competition last year. The latter will be hoping to take the crown again with its newly launched Cloudy 5.5% Cider.
While Toschi UK, Bathtub Gin, Locksley Distilling, Pococello, Gorilla Spirits (launching a new Maraba Coffee Liqueur), The Handmade Cocktail Co, World of Zing, Bluecoat Gin, and Kalosa Spritz will be making their debut in the show's expanded Artisan Spirits Lounge. Returning exhibitors include Pinkster Gin, 10 Degrees C, Masons Yorkshire Gin, Tails Cocktails, Wild Drinks, and Whittaker's Gin.
Drinks for every occasion
Thanks to an increase in daytime food-led occasions, soft drinks - particularly premium adult offerings - are an increasingly lucrative category for casual dining operators. Catering to that demand are Coca-Cola Freestyle, Schweppes, Britvic Soft Drinks, Vimto Out of Home, Fever-Tree, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Franklin & Sons, Radnor Hills, Fentimans, MONIN UK, Frobishers Juices, Ugly Drinks, Think Drinks, Cawston Press, Coldpress, Rebel Kitchen, Dalston Cola, Pip Organic, Double Dutch Drinks, Sejuiced, Karma Cola, Jax Coco, and Food & Drink Wales. They're just some of the exhibitors sampling everything from fruit juices, cordials, pressés, syrups, mixers, tonics, waters, and more at the show.
Specialist teas, coffee and hot drinks - another big revenue stream - can be sourced from Nestlé Professional, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, JJ Foodservice & Lavazza, Caffè di Artisan, Birchall Tea, Lincoln & York, Brewtea, Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Co, and more.
Over 200 exhibitors
The show's full exhibitor list - available to view at www.casualdiningshow.co.uk/exhibitor-list - features over 200 leading industry suppliers offering everything from new food and drink products, catering equipment and tech, workwear, tableware, payment solutions and business services.
Among them are AAK Foodservice, Adande Refrigeration, Beacon Foods, Blanco Nino, Capreolus Fine Foods, Comtrex Systems, Dr. Oetker Professional (UK), Eden Furniture, Finsbury Food Group, Gamble Foodservice Solutions, Harfield Tableware, Jenpak, Kavli Food Solutions, Kettle Foods, Kraft Heinz Foodservice, L'Aquila, Marshfield Farm Ice Cream, Maws Fine Foods, McCain Foodservice, Moy Park Foodservice, Nelson Catering Equipment, Nigel Fredericks, OrderZing, Pidy, Quorn Foods, Reynolds, Seafood from Norway, Southover Food Company, Tevalis, The American BBQ Company, The Billington Group, The Tasty Meat Company, Westlers, Whitby Seafoods, Yumpingo, and Zapp Canopy Umbrellas.
Casual Dining's high-profile seminar line-up includes Keynote interviews with Chris Hill, CEO of New World Trading Company, and Paul Merrett, acclaimed chef director and owner at Jolly Fine Pub Group. Plus exclusive panel sessions featuring big names from Yummy Pub Co, Glendola Leisure Group, Whiting & Hammond, Nando's, Young's & Geronimo Pubs, Flat Iron, Hubbox, All Star Lanes, and Picturehouse Cinemas.
Other speaker highlights - there are 18 sessions to choose from - include Jon Knight, CEO of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group; James Spragg, COO at Casual Dining Group; Susan Chappell, divisional director, Exec co, Mitchells & Butlers; Zoe Bowley, MD, PizzaExpress; and Nick Collins, CEO of Loungers.
"I've always loved the show," says repeat visitor (and speaker) Tim Foster, owner & head of being awesome at the Yummy Pub Co. "Getting up close and personal to existing suppliers for a natter, and finding new ones, is what has always excited me - and Casual Dining is the market leader."
"Casual Dining is a fantastic event for anyone in our industry. It's great to be able to meet so many suppliers in one place," says Max Wright, head of food & drink procurement at Casual Dining Group
Casual Dining returns to the Business Design Centre in London on 21-22 February 2018. Entry to the show's Keynote Theatre (sponsored by Yumpingo) is free with advance visitor registration.