The Benefit of Hitting the Trade Shows

The Benefit of Hitting the Trade Shows

One common question going through the minds of people who have never attended a trade show is if it’s worth it? The flight or long drive, the cost of rooms, food, and often the price just to get in the door at a venue can climb into the thousands of dollars before you know it. And that’s before grabbing souvenirs for the kids or factoring in the cost of being away from the office. After all, won’t every distillery be posting all the cool things they have planned on Twitter and Instagram while live streaming it on Facebook? Probably so, but catching up on a few social media shares the next day is a poor substitute for being there in person.

Trade shows are much like a weird game of poker. Each exhibit and booth is a player placing all their cards on the table, and after you and everyone else in the world sees them, then you get to place your bets by picking which product to buy or service to adopt. Everyone at a trade show is telling everyone else their plans for the rest of the year and possibly beyond. Your competition is showing you how they plan to take a more substantial part of the market.

It isn’t only the distillers here either. There are tons of satellite industries that support distilling in some form or another. Some of what they’re doing can shape how the craft spirits industry operates just as much as some new trend drummed up by a creative bartender with too much time on their hands. Like fantastic new features to a distillery specific online accounting service.

Still need convincing about attending a trade show? Never underestimate the value of face to face meetings. Trade shows offer an invaluable chance to talk to and network with people from all across the distilling industry. It could be a likeminded distiller who shares your philosophy on sourcing ingredients or finding someone who can make better labels at a lower price.

Another thing that makes trade shows something you can’t afford to miss are the speakers. It isn’t often that a brain-trust of the best minds of any business all gather in one spot with the goal of sharing the total of their accumulated wisdom and hard-earned experience. There is always something to learn from the various workshops and seminars offered at your better trade shows.

Most of all, trade shows are also your chance to place your cards on the table and shine. These are opportunities to show off that big new thing to the world. Restaurants, distributors, and retailers are all looking for something that they can make money on. Not to mention the press attends these events. Having a story written about your distillery or product is a great way to get the word out.

Trade Shows are also a great time to let loose and have a little fun. It may not be a vacation exactly, but it does get you out of the office. Here you get to meet and talk to people who understand you. They face the same problems you do when it comes to running or working at a distillery. They get you. Commiserate and connect. Don't overdo the fun though. The last thing you want is to fall into the trap of believing that being far from home gives you a blank check to go wild. Don’t do anything that damages your professional reputation or makes you “that one guy” everyone uses an example of what not to be.